Friday, 2 August 2013

Two-and-a-half cheers for Uruguay

From the BBC:

If the Senate approves..., as is expected, Uruguay would become the first country in the world to regulate cannabis production, guarantee its quality, set its price and tax the revenues. It would also allow people to grow up to six plants of cannabis in their homes*.

The government says the aim is to stop people going to buy cannabis from drug traffickers and to put an end to a recent wave of violent crime associated with illegal drugs. In a BBC interview last year, President Jose Mujica said: "We are not so much worried about the drugs. What really worries us is drug trafficking."

... According to recent opinion polls, Uruguayans have shown to be more open to decriminalising abortion and legalising same-sex marriage than they are towards this new cannabis bill. At least two-thirds of the population are against the legalisation of marijuana, the latest poll suggests.

* That seems a bit stingy and what is not mentioned in that otherwise cheering article is that people will be restricted to buying 40 grams per month from official government shops, which a) doesn't sound like very much to me, and b) how are they going to police it anyway? The mind boggles.

My first thought is that people who want to smoke more than that without resorting to non-government sources will just ask non-smoking friends and neighbours to buy some for them, which gets us straight back to illegal dealing.

But I suppose they have to take into account that two-thirds of their voters oppose the idea, so they can't go too far too fast.


Kj said...

40 grams, if it's marihuana, is a decent size blunt per day + extra for the weekend. So I've heard.
I'm sure this rule is just to make it more palatable to conservatives. It's like when I go over the border for baccy and alcohol, and I bring someone along who doesn't care for either, and use their import quota. The customs officials don't care if it's for me, whether it's in the same bag, or even has my name written on it. What they can reasonably police is one quota per person at the border-crossing. That's how it's going to be in Uruguay as well I assume.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Kj, 40g is a lot of resin but not much weed (i.e. dried leaves). But which one do they mean?

Bayard said...

Perhaps they mean the former, but are trying to imply, for the sake of the Puritan vote, that its the latter.