Uruguay’s year in weed: 3 big successes, 3 burning questions

Uruguay\’s year in weed: 3 big successes, 3 burning questions


Photo: GlobalPost

It’s been approximately 1 year since Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica signed legislation creating the world’s first nationalized market for the cultivation, sale, and use of marijuana.

The implementation of this historic law was portion of a landmark year for cannabis. Recreational pot stores opened in Colorado and Washington State, while three other US states voted to approve sweeping pro-marijuana legislation. And back Latin america, a middle-age housewife in Chile received maybe the region’s first legal medical marijuana prescription.

But together with the successes of Uruguay’s weed experiment are a few notable hold-ups.

For starters, annually to the new paradigm, it’s still impossible to buy marijuana legally here. To date, the costa rica government still hasn’t chosen adidas and puma that can grow its cannabis. A whole new president, taking office in March, who formerly may be skeptical of marijuana use will inherit a great deal of the challenging work of implementing the law.

We’ve broken Uruguay’s year in weed into three notable successes and three remaining questions on the way the pot experiment continue to evolve from the coming months.

Success 1: Growing and exchanging pot is now legal.

Smoking pot has been legal in Uruguay for decades. But until not too long ago it had become illegal to build or buy it here, having a weird legal situation where consumption was permitted and you couldn’t legally purchase anything to consume.

That all changed in 2019. Under Uruguay’s new law, cannabis users here may either grow weed both at home and can join a cannabis “club,” paying fees to be section of a collective that grows and harvests pot. Consequently, legal cannabis cultivation is thriving here.

In December, Julio Calzada, the pinnacle within the National Drug Commission (whom GlobalPost interviewed way back in September) announced that the government had registered 1,200 cannabis growers, and around 500 clubs, progress he stated that is “encouraging.”

Uruguay even held its single cannabis exposition last month, a conference that primarily focused on budding growers which reportedly attracted some 6,000 attendees.

Success 2: Uruguay has shaken up the regional debate on weed.

As we outlined when Uruguay first passed its landmark law in 2019, the principle point of the modern policy ended up make an effort to set out to shift the paradigm on drug enforcement out from the US-led war on drugs that leaders in Uruguay, particularly Mujica, saw to be a dismal failure.

Marijuana legalization was geared towards undercutting drug cartels and as a consequence reducing crime. Mujica has described this law as a possible “experiment” throughout the whole world.

And you will find signals that other countries, mainly in the region, take note.

Eight Latin American countries can be very or somewhat planning to loosen their drug policies before i write again, based on analysis by nonprofit research and reporting group InSight Crime. This list includes Argentina, that is certainly mulling legalization, and Brazil, which can be debating the challenge.

Success 3: The buying price of illegal pot is on its way down.

As GlobalPost reported back May, the buying price of street marijuana here has been around decline because the new law passed. That’s largely because local growers have stepped inside meet demand — albeit sometimes illegally — and furthermore, as pot users can now boost their own weed with impunity.

As such, Uruguay is meeting considered one of its primary goals: hitting drug cartels where it hurts. This mirrors the impacts of drug legalization elsewhere, notably north america.

Texas Public Radio reported in December that legal weed in america alone were undercutting marijuana growers inside Mexican state of Sinaloa that include north america underground community. Here’s an extract:

Two years ago, the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness, inside a study titled ‘If Our Neighbors Legalize,’ predicted the drug cartels would see their cannabis profits plummet 22 to 30 % if your United States continued to decriminalize marijuana.

At 1 time, practically all the weed smoked in the usa, from Acapulco Gold to Colombian Red, began south on the border.

Not anymore.

‘We’re still seeing marijuana. But it’s most of the homegrown stuff here in the States and from Canada. It’s just not the compressed marijuana from Mexico that any of us see,’ says Lt. David Socha, in the Austin Police Department narcotics section.”

Question 1: Will the us govenment get its act together and sell some pot?

This may be the big one.

More than a year after Mujica signed the brand new law, will still be impossible to acquire weed legally in Uruguay, a situation that’s to become a bit of an embarrassment to the Uruguayan government.

Mujica and Calzada have place a brave face on their own government’s slow efforts. Mujica told reporters last July that government sales of cannabis ought not to be rushed. But the truth remains that the majority of Uruguayan pot smokers still need buy their cannabis illegally.

Back in August, the Uruguayan government announced that 20 companies had bid for any rights to provide the country’s pharmacies with pot. The government’s national drug commission was due to whittle those 20 because of about five. But we’re still looking forward to news about who’s been chosen, and estimates for whenever weed apparently become you can buy vary from the following month for some level of mid-2019.

Question 2: Will Uruguay’s pharmacies say yes to sell pot?

Once the first harvest is ready, the master plan is made for Uruguay’s government marijuana to be removed in private pharmacies. That is a huge bone of contention, and folks the Uruguayan Association of Chemistry and Pharmacy have threated to resign en masse if they’re forced to sell weed. How the federal government will be needing pharmacies to offer its cannabis is one of the big unanswered questions of this whole experiment.

Incoming President Tabare Vazquez, who takes office in March, has previously expressed skepticism about requiring pharmacies to market weed. In his election campaign, Vazquez said pharmacies could face violent reprisals from drug traffickers if he or she openly sell cannabis.

Though bigger since said he fully props up cannabis law, it’s unclear whether Vazquez, who\’s going to be a medical doctor, would require pharmacies to offer pot.

Question 3: Can cannabis cultivation be a monetary success?

The Uruguayan government has reportedly claimed it\’s going to sell weed for $1 a gram — the amount officials say is necessary to take on the underground community.

That’s really cheap by both international and native standards. In US terms, $1 a gram would equal about $3.50 to have an eighth of your ounce of pot. The lowest priced eighth of an ounce currently listed online via the Clinic, a dispensary chain in Denver, Colorado, costs about $41.

Marijuana market experts world wide have told GlobalPost it’s “basically impossible” to charge that in a economically feasible way. The us government still has yet to prove the can be carried out — barring a hefty pot subsidy.

There are all kinds of economic obstacles to growing weed with a profit in Uruguay. Unlike places like Sinaloa or Jamaica, which may have warm, subtropical climates, Uruguay has cold, wet winters that is going to stymie outdoor cultivation. Actually growers will have to use greenhouses and indoor growing lamps, that is at the mercy of the country’s sky-high electricity prices.

Ultimately, 2019 is crunch time for the federal government to progress pot. We’ll learn whether it can be accomplished.