Agriculture Candidate: Let's Grow Poppy Plants at Prison Louisiana office-seeker floats unusual idea to raise money By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Oct 7, 2011 1:30 PM CDT 33 comments Comments In this file photo, a US soldier destroys opium poppies in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) (Newser) – Who says a political race for agriculture commissioner needs to be dull? A Democratic candidate in Louisiana has livened things up with a novel proposal to grow poppy plants on 7,000 acres outside a state prison, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The plants would be used for legal medical products, he says. "Under my plan, Louisiana will be to the pharmaceutical industry what Silicon Valley is to the technological industry," says Jamie LaBranche. The incumbent, Republican Mike Strain, is happy to let the idea speak for itself. "Raising opium in a state prison? Seventy percent of those incarcerated have a drug problem. I don't think that sort of proposal even warrants much of a comment."