Uruguays Plan to Sell Marijuana to Registered Users
Under a plan being considered in the South American country of Uruguay, the country’s government would legalize marijuana and become the sole provider of cannabis to users who would register with the government.
If the plan is enacted, Uruguay would become the world’s only government provider of recreational marijuana, reaping the profits for themselves instead of allowing all that money to go to criminals and dealers.
As things stand now, personal drug use is not a crime in the country, but Uruguay’s government wants to take industry control one step beyond by selling marijuana itself.
By selling a relatively harmless “drug,” and increasing penalties for those who traffic in harder stuff, the Uruguay government hopes to steer its citizens away from more dangerous substances. Although the country currently enjoys little crime, the numbers are on the rise.
Defense Minister Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro told reporters that Uruguayan farmers would grow the marijuana, although final details have not been hammered out.
It will be interesting to compare crime stats and usage rates (for all illicit substances) in Uruguay a few years down the road to see the success of their policy, if it becomes law. Drug use rates in Holland and Portugal – the two European countries with the most “liberal” drug laws – are below that of the U.S. There’s no reason to believe that marijuana use will rise in Uruguay, but much reason to expect a decrease in the crime associated with drug trafficking.
And the government will see a boon when it comes to money from marijuana sales; money that used to disappear into the hole that is the black market. And maybe huge amounts of cash will be what finally convinces politicians in other countries that money can be made from legality and freedom.
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