Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jun 2007
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2007 Southam Inc.
Author: Stephen Heath
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Re: Buying Afghan poppies no solution, letter to the editor, June 5.

Letter-writer Colonel Brian MacDonald offers some interesting numbers 
on world morphine supplies to support his endorsement of keeping 
illegal the Afghan opium poppy market. What he ignores are the two 
most prominent reasons for legalizing poppy production -- not only in 
Afghanistan, but worldwide.

First, in the unlikely event producers of morphine and other opiod 
medicines were to create a surplus in supply, one immediate result 
would be a great reduction in price. Seems the only ones who might 
object to that would be the current, relatively small number of legal 
producers who enjoy the mega-profits assured by an unduly tight 
supply worldwide.

More urgent is that as long as this extremely in-demand product is 
left illegal, neither its production nor its distribution can be 
responsibly regulated. Instead, 100% of control remains in the hands 
of the criminal cartels, gangs and terrorist organizations that use 
the profits to further even more crime around the globe. Seems the 
only ones who might object would be those who currently profit from 
this illegal, unregulated trafficking.

It's time to sensibly legalize and regulate opium poppies. Lower 
prices will allow more ready access for legitimate medical 
applications. And moving production and distribution off the streets 
will immediately disempower terrorists and violent cartels. Win, Win.

Stephen Heath

Clearwater, Fla.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman