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Poppy Scare in New Mexico!!

Submitted by Phillip Smith on
There was a story in the Santa Fe New Mexican this morning titled "Seized Poppies Perplex Officials" in which police raiding a marijuana plantation discoverd a tub full of poppies in the middle of the pot field. Despite a lack of clarity about whether the poppies in question were actually opium poppies (papaver somniferum), the cops consulted by the newspaper were ready to declare that the end times are upon us. From the article: Capt. Gary Johnson, head of criminal investigations at the Santa Fe Police Department, said he'd never heard of poppies being grown in New Mexico and called the implications of such cultivation ``enormous.'' ``Now heroin has to be shipped in (to the U.S.),'' he said. ``If it is able to be grown here -- man, I can't even fathom the depth of death and destruction.'' A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official in New Mexico who is not authorized to speak to the media and requested anonymity, said not only is it rare to find poppies in New Mexico, it is rare to find them within the borders of the United States. Most heroin comes from Mexico, South America, Southeast Asia and Southwest Asia, the official said. ``Not only is it uncommon, but if it's true, it raises a serious concern ... that there could actively be a heroin conversion lab operating in the United States,'' the official said. ``That is over the top.'' Hyperventilating cops notwithstanding, this discovery probably does not represent the Afghanistanization of New Mexico. First, we're not even sure if they were opium poppies. Second, opium poppies are grown legally all over the US. My mother has some in her yard. So do lots of other old ladies. Third, the 90 poppy plants would have produced about an ounce and a half of opium or--if converted into heroin through a complicated chemical process--would produce about 4 grams of smack. Come to think of it, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing if the US produced its own opium supply. Then we wouldn't have to give our money to Colombian drug lords, Mexican mafiosos, or Mullah Omar. Just a thought.

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