The incredibly expensive and questionably effective "War On Drugs" hasn't offered much good press lately. Now we find out one of the casualties is US asparagus:
Hey - this could become a trade negotiating tactic for poor countries. Start growing coca (or pot, hash, opium, etc.) and then negotiate to stop in exchange for open trade for stuff you are very competitive with. I could see it happening with cotton, for example. I think the horror of drugs would outweigh the love of farmers in a heartbeat. Who needs a WTO? This outcome also illustrates the peril of basing your business plan on government manipulation of the market.
The [U.S. asparagus] industry has been decimated by a U.S. drug policy designed to encourage Peruvian coca-leaf growers to switch to asparagus. Passed in 1990 and since renewed, the Andean Trade Preferences and Drugs Eradication Act permits certain products from Peru and Colombia, including asparagus, to be imported to the United States tariff-free....
Meanwhile, the Washington [state] industry is a shadow of its former self. Acreage has been cut by 71 percent to just 9,000 acres. [More]
Of course, on the bright side of the war failure, the most valuable US crop is now marijuana. Unfortunately, this growing agricultural success cannot be taxed or generate jobs legally, thus allowing the wealth to flow underground to support the wrong people.
Jon Gettman, the report's author, is a public policy consultant and leading proponent of the push to drop marijuana from the federal list of hard-core Schedule 1 drugs — which are deemed to have no medicinal value and a high likelihood of abuse — such as heroin and LSD.I know, I know - to solve this problem we should spend even more billions and send in more enforcers.
He argues that the data support his push to begin treating cannabis like tobacco and alcohol by legalizing and reaping a tax windfall from it, while controlling production and distribution to better restrict use by teenagers.
"Despite years of effort by law enforcement, they're not getting rid of it," Gettman said. "Not only is the problem worse in terms of magnitude of cultivation, but production has spread all around the country. To say the genie is out of the bottle is a profound understatement."
Wait, I've heard that somewhere else...