By Bella Buddza
Staff Writer at the Cannabis Associates Network
Uruguay is the first country to officially legalize the sale of cannabis and finally began selling to its citizens on Wednesday July 19, 2017. This is almost 4 years after its non-cannabis-smoking President Jose Mujica championed the move in an attempt to combat the illegal drug cartels.
I support marijuana legalization in Uruguay 100% but this plan isn't going to defeat the cartels any time soon or ever.
First let’s recap what the law. The law allows citizens (and only citizens) and permanent residents of Uruguay over the age of 18 to buy a maximum of 10 grams of cannabis per week and no more than 40 grams of cannabis per month. The cannabis will only be sold by 16 government owned pharmacies and the law also allows cannabis users to grow their own supply at home or to join co-operative clubs that grow cannabis collectively.
What are the citizens of Uruguay buying? This is a quote from a Vox Article comparing THC content of the two cannabis strains being legally sold in Uruguay with that of cannabis strains sold in the States of Colorado and Washington:
“The weed, however, isn’t very strong. Uruguay is offering two different strains, dubbed Alpha 1 and Beta 1. Both have a THC content of just 2 percent, much lower than the levels found in legal recreational weed in the U.S. In Colorado, recreational marijuana contains an average of 18.7 percent THC; in Washington state, it’s 16 percent.”
The cost of a gram of cannabis in Uruguay is about $1.00 as compared to the price of a gram in the United States which is between ten and twenty bucks.
Non-citizens cannot buy cannabis in Uruguay. Cannabis is only sold through 16 government run pharmacies. Cannabis is Uruguay costs $1.00 per gram. The THC level of the cannabis legally sold in Uruguay is roughly on tenth of what is possible with today’s techniques and technologies and people in Uruguay are legally allowed to grow their own. Enter capitalism.
Margins will be made by enterprising citizens and quite possibly cartels selling cannabis to non-citizens, selling cannabis to those not living near an official pharmacy, selling cannabis to those desiring a higher THC content and selling cannabis to others that they grew themselves. This is not rocket science.
Let’s watch to see what happens. If the movie Jurassic Park taught us anything at all it’s that “Capitalism (or life) will find a way.” I am on the record for being in favor of both for the people of Uruguay.
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