I'M NOW THE KING of The Islands, the King of Zaya and the Duke of Averon.
Of all my realms, Zaya is the most troublesome. I need more money, a lot more money, to bring Zaya up to what I would consider a minimum standard of living for my Zayan subjects. I'm collecting taxes and using the tax money to develop Zaya, but the process is agonizingly slow.
One of the things that has been almost instantly profitable in Zaya is the growing of weed. Weed is a narcotic and it's in much demand in Averon and also in Zaya.
I have the weed growers that I license in Zaya sell their product to my man Wohn Cobbler in Clagor. Wohn processes the raw weed and makes a drug that's sold via Dorond sources. The Dorond part of the operation doesn't exist officially, but does provide me with a great deal of advanced technology products, which I mostly sell in Corin for good profits.
One day, a Zayan farmer manages to talk to me. He tells me something of great interest. He lectures, "You have people in Zaya growing the narcotic weed. The narcotic part of weed is mainly the female flowers and, to some extent, the leaves. However, if you properly raise the same plant that produces weed, you get something much more useful than weed. You get hemp."
The mog continues, "Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. The seeds can be eaten raw, ground into a meal, sprouted, made into hemp milk, prepared as tea, or used in baking. The fresh, non-narcotic leaves can also be eaten in salads."
"Products that can be made from hemp range from cereals to breads, hemp tofu to nut butters. The hemp seeds may be pressed for oil and hemp cake, which is what's left when the oil is removed by pressing. Hemp can even be processed into non-dairy milk, and for non-dairy hemp ice cream."
I say, "So far, so good. You see the advantages and you want to raise the hemp for food."
"Yes for food, but also for fibre. Hemp can be used to make canvas. If you grow enough of it, you also get the basic material for a superior paper."
"What sort of soil is required to grow this hemp? There must be some disadvantages."
The man laughs. "Hemp is, basically, a weed. It'll grow most anywhere. It grows fast, shades out other weeds, enriches the soil and requires little or no irrigation."
"What's the catch? There must be some disadvantages."
"The only real catch is that people can take the hemp seeds and, over time and effort, use them to grow weed."
"They can grow weed along with the hemp?"
"No, not really, the male flowers on the hemp degrade any nearby weed. If you grow a lot of hemp, it makes it nearly impossible to grow any kind of commercial weed."
"Why then do you come to me? Why don't you just grow hemp?"
"It's now illegal to grow hemp in Zaya."
"Who makes it illegal to grow hemp?"
"The local authorities. Plus, there are people in the areas where we would grow hemp who will burn the fields if we try."
"At a guess, the people who would burn the hemp fields grow illegal weed?"
"Yes, and they pay off the local authorities."
"If what you tell me is true, then the local people know who grows illegal weed."
"Yes, but to tell is to die."
"To tell the local authorities, who are in the pay of the weed growers, is to have them tell the growers of the illegal weed. To tell the police, who are in the pay of the weed growers, is to have them tell the growers of the illegal weed. To tell me, is to see that the growers of the illegal weed bother you no more."
"I tell you and you deal with the growers of illegal weed. Then I begin to grow hemp. However, do you think that no one suspects that I and the other hemp growers told you?"
"You tell me, privately, who the growers of the illegal weed are. I deal with them. I then tell the local authorities that I'm having great success with the growing of hemp in the Moxon region of Averon. I want the farmers in your region of Zaya to also try the growing of hemp. I want the local authorities to repeal the laws that make the growing of hemp illegal. Why not?"
The man thinks for a moment and says, "If the farmers in the Moxon area of Averon are growing hemp, why then the idea could have come from them and not from the farmers in Zaya. Thus, there's no reason to suspect that the farmers in Zaya told the King who is growing illegal weed in Zaya. However, we local farmers in Zaya still have to deal with those who grow the illegal weed. They're very powerful in our area."
"The King of Zaya is also very powerful. He will use that power to break the power of those who grow illegal weed and then evade paying the King his taxes."
"You have no idea how wide the influence of those who grow the illegal weed is in the area of Zaya to which I refer. The local authorities, including the courts, are all in the pay of those who grow the illegal weed."
"You have just said the magic word that will solve the weed problem."
The man, obviously puzzled, asks, "What magic word?"
"The magic word is 'pay.' If those who grow the illegal weed can't pay, they have no power. Your King will see that they can't pay. You tell me the names of those who grow the illegal weed and your King will see to it that they can't pay. Once the growers of the illegal weed have been dealt with, then the farmers of your area can order their hemp seed. Of course, you have already paid for your hemp seed, so there will be no need for you to order."
"But I haven't yet paid for my hemp seed."
"You will have paid for your hemp seed when you tell me the names of those who grow the illegal weed."
The man then reluctantly tells me the names of those who run the illegal weed selling operation. More importantly, he tells me the places where the illegal weed is stored. He then departs.
I get on the phone to a lady who runs the Agricultural Department for the Moxon area. I tell her, "I'm the Duke of Averon. I have been told that the growing of hemp would be a major improvement in the agricultural business in Moxon. Is this true or false?"
The lady tells me, "As a crop, hemp would be very beneficial, both for the soil and for the finances of those who grow hemp. However, the growing of hemp is illegal."
"What exactly are the drawbacks in the growing of hemp?"
"Hemp is a non-narcotic version of what's commonly called weed. Hemp is a very useful crop. However, the authorities are afraid that the growing of hemp will lead to the growing of weed."
"The breeding of children inevitably leads to the breeding of criminals. Thus, the breeding of children is illegal, right?"
The lady laughs and says, "Well, no."
"Who decides that the growing of hemp is illegal?"
"The various legislatures of the states in the Moxon area."
"Not to worry. I'll have the laws changed. Can you give me the text of a reasonable law regarding the growing of hemp?"
"There's an organization that has lobbied for such changes in the law. They have proposed law changes. I can net mail you the proposed changes."
"Please do." I give her a net mail address where she can mail me the proposed changes.
I then call a key member of the legislature in the largest state in Moxon. I identify myself and tell the mog, "Hemp is a non-narcotic version of weed. It's a perfect cash crop for Moxon. However, it's illegal to grow hemp in Moxon. Why is that?"
The mog tells me, "We're afraid that the growing of hemp will lead to the growing of weed."
"The growing of weed isn't really a problem. It's the sale of weed that's a problem. I can stop the illegal sale of weed. I need the taxes that the growing of hemp will provide. I need to have the laws repealed that make the growing of hemp illegal."
The mog then sneers, "And just how do you intend to stop the illegal sale of weed?"
"Suppose that someone began seizing and poisoning weed and then selling it into the illegal market channels that now exist?"
"I would. You see, I don't have to stand for election. I'm the Duke of Averon. It's a hereditary, life-time position."
I get assurances that the mog will get the law changed, right now! I also get assurance that the mog will talk with other lawmakers in Moxon."