Blogs > Liberty and Power > Drug Prohibition and the Rainforest

Nov 20, 2008 4:30 pm

Drug Prohibition and the Rainforest

In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Jerome Taylor, a writer for The Independent Of Britain, has an essay titled Cocaine is destroying Colombian rainforest. In it he describes damage to the environment done by cocaine producers. He asserts that, “on top of the vast tracts of rainforest that are destroyed to make way for coca fields millions of tons of herbicides and fertilizers are washed into Colombia's rivers.”

Taylor also notes efforts to convince users of cocaine that they are responsible for these bad effects. He quotes Colombia's Vice-President, Francisco Santos Calderon as arguing that, "every time you consume one gram of cocaine you are destroying 4.4 square meters of Colombian rainforest."

All of the problems described by the author would be mitigated or disappear if the coca plant were legal. The reason people plant coca deep in the rainforest is because it is illegal. The reason the chemicals used to make cocaine are just dumped into the nearest stream is because the industry is outlawed and therefore unregulated. Also, let us remember that the herbicides mentioned in the piece are there because of governmental efforts to eradicate the coca plant. If the drug was legal people would be able to partake without causing any more environmental damage than other crops do, so it is clearly not the user’s fault. The blame lies with drug prohibition and anyone who cares about the rainforest environment should be advocating an end to war on people who use certain kinds of drugs.

Cross posted on The Trebach Report

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