Could the Taliban and FARC end up having a major source of revenue cut off? Drug traffickers need to take some big risks getting heroin from the Taliban past law enforcement in nations like Iran. They also lose a good chunk of profit to these religious (or in the case of FARC and the cocaine market–Marxist) psychopaths. Even the down-stream drug dealer may resent losing so much of his revenue to the biker gangs and kiddie-porn-selling organized crime when the possibility exists to brew up the product close to the market. To be able to just make the product without losses to global prohibitionists at the borders and ports… it wouldn’t be easy to pioneer such operations but the incentive for success would be huge.
The article describes research towards pharmaceuticals being made in industrial scale but the basics goal is to use engineered yeast to make opioid-based drugs. They aren’t at the point of cutting off the need for the opium plant yet but that is what would make for a significant change in the way illegal drugs are made and who profits from them.
If the price and availability of drugs, rather than people’s life choices and genetic susceptibility to addiction is the MAIN factor which governs the amount of harm drugs do to society then it’s bad news (eventually). If life choices and genes are a more important factor then keeping drug revenue in the community and spending less on global prohibition law enforcement efforts while putting more research into promising medical research into treatment for addiction would be a great benefit.
Either way, the market could be in for some drastic changes.