Uruguay is about to make an amazing move toward defunding the organized drug trafficking cartels - the country wants to sell marijuana at a price the cartels won't be able to undercut: $1 per GRAM! Now, THAT would really combat illegal drug trafficking - and would put an end to the violence evolving around it. Earlier this year, in July, the lower house of congress, after a lengthy debate, had approved the bill to legalize marijuana. The legislators in Montevideo had voted 50 to 46 in favor of it. Now it is time to push it through the Senate.
The price of a gram in a medical dispensary in Washington ranges from $8 to $14 ... just for comparison.
President Jose Mujica expects that his plan to sell legal marijuana will be recognized as an alternative to the war on drugs and that the senate will pass the bill, making his country the first in the world to license and enforce rules for growing, distribution and sale of marijuana for adult consumers.
In the past, while growing, possessing, selling or buying marijuana always called for prosecution and very likely prison terms, smoking has usually been tolerated, but now Uruguay could soon be a pioneering country with revolutionary laws regulating marijuana and proud owner of a government-run legal marijuana industry.
Sales would be limited to local residents who'd have to register with a federal registry, before they are allowed to buy up to 40 grams per month. A great idea, because this measure will avoid drug tourism, but on the flip-side it could mean that tourists will still buy their weed supplies from dealers in the street.
Julio Calzada, the president of the National Drug Council said the idea behind the bill is not to make money, but to combat the criminal activities that go hand in hand with the illegal trafficking of marijuana. He also mentioned that the illegal drug market is very risky and that the product(s) are often of poor quality, whereas the state is going to offer a platform to safely obtain a product in a consistently high quality. On Sunday he told a local newspaper, El Pais, that the sales of legal marijuana should start in the second half of 2014.
The implementation of the new law would be a ground-shaking, encouraging sign for other countries in Latin America and probably the whole world and we really hope more governments will swing in and overhaul their drug policy.