cross posted at mLaw

Cannabis buds in a jar

Uruguay is undercutting the black market by legalizing cannabis.

As Uruguay moves confidently forward with its plan to end the prohibition of cannabis in the country, law makers have set the price of the commodity when it becomes legal for personal consumption by adults later this year. To compete with the Uruguayan black market sale of cannabis, which sells for about $1.40 per gram as contraband, the legislators determined to sell cannabis to adult Uruguayans for one dollar per gram.

National Drug Board chief Jose Calzada told Uruguayan newspaper El Pais that a gram of cannabis would be enough for “one large joint or three slimmer ones,” and reminded that cannabis’ benefits can be achieved by vaporizing the natural substance “which is much less harmful” or it can be consumed “in foods like brownies.”

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica proposed legislation that would end the prohibition of cannabis in his country in an effort to counter the violent and failed internationally waged “drug war.” The bill proposes that the Uruguayan government be the sole grower and seller of legal marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Marijuana is legally consumed in Uruguay, but selling marijuana is illegal. The Uruguayan government projects that the marijuana sold on Uruguay’s black market nets between $30 and $40 million for criminals each year.

In a letter describing the legislative intent of the proposed law, Diego Canepa the pro-secretary of the presidency, wrote that “The type of policy that we have followed for more than 50 years in this country has not had the expected results … the worst thing that can happen to public policy is to not act when the evidence shows that persisting on the same path will not obtain different results.” As it stands, says Canepa, the “war on drugs” causes significantly more harm to Uruguayans than legalized marijuana ever could.

Photo by Adrianna Broussard released under a Creative Commons No Derivatives license.