Pubdate: Sun, 19 Jan 1997
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Author: Peter Watney

A report in brief on page 2 (CT Thur Jan 9) announces that 10 tonnes of
cannabis resin worth up to $500 million has been seized, thus valuing it
far above the price of gold

The Australian Illicit Drug Report 1995 - 1996 produced by the Australian
Bureau of Criminal Intelligence puts the price of heroin somewhere between
$6,500 and $17,000 per ounce, which makes it from 15 to 40 times more
valuable than gold.

Can any factor other than prohibition be responsible for easily harvested
plants and their extracts such as cannabis resin and heroin now being
priced so far above gold?

Can you think of any way in which some people will not be tempted by
such prices into criminally marketing these or other equally dangerous

Is there any way in which some of these people will not attempt to
seduce our children into getting addicted to these dangerous substances
in order to profit from such inordinately high prices?

Is there any way of preventing these marketers from funding out of their
inordinately high profits the corruption of law enforcement officers with
bribes that some of those relatively lowly paid individuals will be
unable to resist?

The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 to which Australia is a
Party requires us to consider the 6 drugs included in Schedule IV of the
convention in a special manner.

Art. 2 paragraph 5:
"The drugs in Schedule IV shall also be included in Schedule I and
subject to all measures of control applicable to drugs in the latter
Schedule, and in addition thereto:

"a. A Party shall adopt any special measures of control which in its
opinion are necessary having regard to the particularly dangerous
properties of a drug so included; and

"b. A Party shall, if in its opinion the prevailing conditions in its
country render it the most appropriate means of protecting the public
health and welfare, prohibit the production, manufacture, export and
import of, trade in, possession or use of any such drug ...."

The time has surely come when in our opinion the prevailing conditions
in our country render prohibition of these drugs the least appropriate
means of protecting the public health and welfare.

Neither our children nor law, order and justice will be safe until we
have recovered control over these dangerous substances from the
criminals to whom we have handed it through prohibition.