“Over the past decade, poppy cultivation and the opium it produces have flourished as poor farmers turn to the profitable crop.”
BANG LAEM, Myanmar — A decade ago, Myanmar seemed on course to wipe out the opium fields and heroin jungle labs along its eastern border, the notorious Golden Triangle.
Today, valley after valley in these mist-shrouded mountains is covered with resplendent opium poppies, tended by farmers who perch on steep hillsides to harvest the plant’s sticky, intoxicating sap.
Poppy cultivation in Myanmar has nearly tripled since 2006, reaching close to 150,000 acres, according to surveys carried out by the United Nations. Yet even that steep rise fails to capture the full extent of Myanmar’s resurgence as a major player in the global heroin business. Over the last few years, an increasing number of farmers here have produced two opium crops a year, experts say; the second crop is not included in the United Nations surveys.
Growing opium poppies is illegal in Myanmar, but farmers in this remote and desperately poor region say they have few viable options.
Ventura County, California criminal defense lawyer and State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist Jay Leiderman handles all types of drug-related cases, including drug dealing, drug trafficking, drug possession, DUI, and medical marijuana cases involving the laws CUA or Prop 215 and SB 420 also known as the MMPA, as well as cases of all types involving the mentally ill who “self medicate” due to a lack of treatment. Jay has spent a lot of time and resources fighting against the drug war. Jay is a lifetime member of the NORML Legal Committee. He is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), The National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), The California Public Defender’s Association (CPDA) and is also a lifetime member of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ)