It’s a new year. And starting today, the Tobacco Control Act comes into effect. So if you cultivate or harvest, manufacture, supply or distribute tobacco and tobacco products, you’ll be jailed for at least three years and up to five years.This is Bhutan, and yes, it's a dot in the arse end of nowhere. OK, I can sense you're none the wiser, so let's explain cartographically.
If you possess tobacco, and if you can’t prove that you’ve imported it for your own consumption, you’ll be jailed for at least one year and up to three years, but only if you reveal from where you got your tobacco. If you don’t reveal your source, you’ll receive an additional sentence, jailing you for least three more years and up to five more years.
So what on earth could be behind such hideous dictatorial lunacy? What kind of 'democratic' legislative ideology are they working from?
King Jigme Singye Wangchuck would go much further. With the self-confidence of a ruler whose country has never been conquered, he has tried to dictate the terms of Bhutan’s opening—and in the process redefine the very meaning of development. The felicitous phrase he invented to describe his approach: Gross National Happiness.Phew! Lucky we haven't got anything like that here, isn't it?
Oh ... hang on.