There’s been a fair bit in the news about vast poppy fields in Afghanistan, but if you think most of the world’s opiates come from the Middle East you’re around 10,000kms off the mark. An interesting fact tailor-made for dinner party conversation is that over half of all pharmaceutical-grade alkaloids are derived from crops grown in Tasmania. How do we know this? Because stoned wallabies have started making crop circles.
Last week, reports surfaced of mobs of wallabies eating the poppies, getting munted, and hopping around until weird circles were formed in the poppy stalks. It’s been documented that when people get lost in the wilderness, they invariably start travelling in the direction of their dominant hand, causing them to walk in sweeping circles. Apparently the same thing goes for drug affected marsupials.
Now, we couldn’t rustle up any pictures of said wallabies or crop circles but I’m inclined to believe any and all stories about strange things happening in the Apple Isle because let’s face it, it’s kind of a weird place.
Currently, two corporations control opium production in Tasmania, GSK and Tasmanian Alkaloids. Both companies offer pretty extensive support to farmers, providing cash advances, seeds, harvesting and cartage. The current price for a tonne of reasonable grade morphine crop is just over $1,800 and you get around two times that per hectare. So, if you’re planting a decent size crop of say 200 hectares, you’re looking at a pretty easy $700,000. Minus whatever the wallabies eat.
So, to the list of famous Tasmanians such as Errol Flynn, Peter Sculthorpe, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, 21 time world champion woodchopper David Foster and mass murderer Martin Bryant, you can now add opium. Nice one.