Hello, my fellow Zootopians! Prepare to get Z.A.P.ped! It's time for this week's edition of the Zootopia Appreciation Post, or Z.A.P. for short. Every Saturday, I'm gonna be posting a different Zootopia-related topic that we can all discuss.
For today's topic, I would like to talk about the legal status of Night Howlers.
This post is for last week.
As you know, Night Howlers are flowers that are central to the plot of Zootopia.
They are commonly used as a natural bug repellent at Bunnyburrow, though referred to as a "Class C Botanical" by Judy Hopps, suggesting their legal status is a controlled substance. It is likely that it's considered a controlled substance, because of its neurological effects on the brain.
Assistant Mayor Bellwether ran a secret operation where she used Night howler chemicals to turn predators in Zootopia aggressive in order to make it seem as though they were biologically reverting back to their "primitive, savage ways", as part of a plan to get all predators removed from the city and have prey become the dominant species. She ran this operation with a ram scientist named Doug, who used his chemist expertise to distill the flowers' mind-altering toxin into a concentrated liquid form, which he then placed within glass paintball-like pellets and loaded into an air-powered sniper gun to shoot predators with. Following the arrests of Bellwether and her accomplices, an antidote is later made for the afflicted predators.
So, I've been thinking, should Night Howlers be illegal? I mean, even in their natural state, they make animals aggressive (temporarily) without needing any additional chemical process, even Stu said that Judy's uncle became berserk when he ate the flower, which means they're not different from any illegal drug plant from the real world, and the Hopps family calmly plant them at their crop at the edge of the road without any problem, so why aren't Night Howlers illegal?
While Night Howlers are in fact dangerously psychoactive, they are not apparently eaten on purpose, have legitimate agricultural use as an insect repellent, and were never weaponized before. As such, treating them as just another highly toxic plant makes sense. Of course, after the events of the movie selling those things within Zootopia's city limits will be strongly discouraged.
While the "Class C Botanical" was known to at least be poisonous enough to kill bugs, they were not widely known as a poison capable of affecting mammals (at least not drastically so).
Moreover, Doug is seen dumping Night Howlers into a pressure cooker almost as big as he is, which produces a savage serum pellet the size of a blueberry. The serum is an extremely concentrated version of Night Howler poison, most likely chosen by the conspirators, because the poison in its natural state is so mild, that it was not even considered as a possible cause.
In the real world, you can buy potent and highly dangerous natural drugs in any flower shop (and in extension, in every 24/7 in powdered form). For the most part, it's enough to tell people that a plant is poisonous to prevent them from consuming it (and anyways, who would want to ingest Night Howlers on purpose, given the consequences?). They are already restricted to prevent obvious misuse, but you just can't outlaw anything that will pose a threat if handled the wrong way.
So, what do you guys think? Sound off in the comments below!