I consider this the great failure of CITES. There's been a ton of money spent on enforcement by all signatories to the treaty; money that should have been spent setting up propagation facilities in the countries of origin. It would have benefited the countries of origin financially, and taken pressure off the natural habitat -re: illegal collection.
I agree! It would be much better if a fraction of the money (that governments spend policing, prosecuting and imprisoning people), was spent on setting up labs in the countries of origin and guarding the wild colonies of highly desireable species. Unlike rare, large Mammals, most orchids can be mass produced by the hundreds of thousands by skilled technicians in a lab. There is NO need for plants to be "illegal"! Wild collonies of commercially valuable plants should be protected and managed properly. A relatively small number of seed capsules should be collected on an annual basis and local labs with skilled technicians should be contracted to grow those seeds into a saleable commodity for the world market. This way, everyone wins. The wild colonies are actively protected from poachers; keeping the number of wild plants stable and preserving gentic diversity in the natural habitat. The local human population gets to earn a living exploiting the local resource in a sustainable way and vendors and hobbyists all over the world get to enjoy owning and growing the lab produced plants, guilt free.
The whole concept of plants being "illegal" is absolutely ridiculous and it shows just how much people in government can be nothing more than a bunch of ignorant, idiot boneheads. The same rules, regulations and restrictions should NOT apply to animals and plants equally, as it does now with CITES. A single hobbyist with time and materials, as well as a laminar flow hood in his basement, could single-handedly propagate an extremely rare species by the thousands and bring it from the brink of extinction and make it very common in cultivation. That can't be done with rare and endangered animals.