Of all the features about the Schapelle Corby case, the oddest seems to be the price disparity. According to the 2004 World Drug Report (PDF file), the price of marijuana in Indonesia is about US$1/gram retail, or US$100/kg wholesale. The prices in Australia are US$19/gram retail, and US$3050/kg wholesale.* So we’re expected to believe that Corby risked life and limb to carry 4.1kg to Indonesia, thereby reducing the retail value of the contents of her bodyboard bag from US$77,900 to US$4100.

Why isn’t this getting more play in the mainstream media? Is it that we think it’s somehow dirty to talk about drug prices?

* An article on the World Socialist Web Site says 4.1kg of marijuana wholesales in Australia for A$36,000, which is quite a bit higher than the World Drug Report’s estimate. I see two explanations for this: either the price has risen a lot since the WDR came out. Or else the socialists are buying from a mid-level dealer who claims to be a wholesaler.

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4 Responses to Corbynomics

  1. Steve Edney says:

    I’ve thought this angle hasn’t been covered enough. The more telling point is according to your figures even if she’s buying wholesale AUD and selling retail IND – The best situation she could possibly reap from the deal, she’s looking at over an $8k USD loss.

  2. hazym says:

    I’m no expert ut offer this from Miranda Devine (SMH 24/4)..

    “However, for those who question why anyone would take coals to Newcastle, ie, pot to Bali, a long-term Australian expat in Bali offers an explanation: “High quality hydroponic marijuana is worth its weight in gold in Bali,” he says. “A product bought wholesale in Australia for $4000 a kilogram becomes worth $US15,750 [$20,200]. Nice pay for a holiday in the sun.”

    Maybe the economics work and maybe that’s why the ‘obvious’ hasn’t been raised.

  3. Andrew Leigh says:

    Hazym, I’d trust the figures from the World Drug Report before I’d trust Devine’s unnamed expat. The WDR has drug prices for every illegal drug being substantially lower in Indonesia than Australia. It beggars belief that the reverse could be true for some particular type of marijuana.

  4. Rick says:

    I agree with Andrew.

    My son-in-law, who is aus-born and whose parents came to Aus from Malaysia, recently returned to Malaysia for their honeymoon. His cousins were able to give him a good idea of the value of dope in SE Asia – one of said cousins is a street level dealer. Son-in-law, thank God, declined the invitation to partake, as he wants to live to see his daughter grow up.

    Marijuana is comparatively worth “nothing” in KL, and there would surely be little difference in street value between a city of the size and wealth of KL on one hand and Bali with its tourist burden on the other. Perhaps an expat Australian would pay heaps to develop a psychotic disorder, but are there enough similarly minded expats in Bali to form a reasonable market? I would have thought that 4.1kg is a serious wholesale level operation aiming at a reasonably well-developed market. And was the bust hydroponic?

    Devine’s information? The fact that we are talking about her here demonstrates that her objective has been achieved. She is now the topic of conversation. She wouldn’t be if she hadn’t said something a little out of the ordinary.

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