Written by France 24

Spice, in any of its dozens of varieties, was the plague on the galaxy; a horribly addicting drug that its victims would lie, steal, assault, and murder for.”

–Eli Vanto, ensign in the Imperial Navy

Spice, the mind-altering illicit substance predominantly mined on Kessel, has been a thorn in the side of the Galactic Empire since its inception. Highly addictive, the drug has inspired a sprawling underground smuggling network, one that the Empire had been unable to regulate. This year, however, 15 years after the formation of the Empire, the Galactic Senate has decided to legalize and regulate its sale. The move is expected to bring in billions of credits in taxes… yet not all are happy with its legalization.

Senator Gar Saxon of Mandalore led the push to legalize the drug, citing the current economic crisis facing the Senate and the threat posed by smuggling. “As you’re all well-aware, the Galactic Empire has experienced some revenue problems,” he told France 24 in an exclusive interview. “We have faced a serious security threat in the form of various crime syndicates. Those crime syndicates generate much of their revenue through the illicit trade of spice.”

Yet just as I was about to press the Senator for more information, Senator Ecclessis Figg of Bespin approached. “Are you talking about how much you hate children and women?” the senator asked Saxon, jumping into our conversation. Senator Figg explained that he had been the main opponent to legalizing spice, and that there were other ways the Empire could recoup its lost revenue. “There are so many different ways I think that we could improve the economic stability. I think that one big thing that people neglect is the idea of industrializing the Outer Rim planets in terms of mining. There are so many planets that I have been in contact with about expanding development, especially because at this current time I am the only planet that is mining the gas that runs the galaxy. There are resources to make that available to other countries, and we just haven’t done that.”

I pressed the Senator further. The Galactic Empire has shaky control at best over the Outer Rim, where some planets do not even operate on the credit system. How could the Senate incentive Outer Rim planets to take up mining when many do not recognize the Empire’s legitimacy? “Right now, the Empire is incredibly strong…” Senator Figg responded as Senator Saxon nodded. “The Outer Rim has historically been a patchy system, but we have made strides in this committee specifically to fix those patches.”

It remains to be seen whether the legalization of spice will fix the Galactic Empire’s revenue troubles, but one thing remains certain: Senator Figg plans to continue to fight against the drug. “I will fight just as hard as I did against spice to reverse that ruling on spice and make sure that no other drugs in this galaxy becoming legalized,” he told me defiantly before striding back into committee.