Uruguay's stance on Drugs just got interesting.

Other | Tuesday 22nd October 2013 | Alex

     It’s long been spoken about in smoky front rooms, where red eyes and dry mouths debate a topic they don’t understand entirely. Uruguay are legalizing marijuana and stoners the world over rejoice. Yes, for just a solitary dollar a whole gram of the green stuff can be yours and you can legally get up to 40 grams per month or own 6 plants yourself at home. The catch? You need to be Uruguayan. This instantly rules out a whole chunk of the world. However, this is a ground breaking development in the War on Drugs that has caused so many to be put behind bars or worse.

     Seeing Uruguay deal with the Latin-American Drug problem in this way is a watershed moment, when you consider the devastation that has come to countries like Colombia and Venezuela thanks to a rainbow of various substances and the gangs that traffic them, it’s a pretty bold step to take. The Uruguayan government has openly stated that this is not a money spinning scheme; this is a plan to tackle the levels of petty crime, allowing them to concentrate on bigger issues than Marijuana.

     It took 13 hours of debating for 50 out of the 96 members of the Uruguayan government to pass the Bill and bring it into legality. It will make Uruguay the first nation in the modern world to create a legitimate structure for the “production, distribution and sale of Marijuana for Adult customers.” You didn’t really think they’d sell it to minors now, did you? Furthermore, it will cost Uruguayans an eighth (ha!) of the price it would that it would in the United States dispensaries in the states of Colorado and Washington where price depends on quality and will cost anywhere between $8-14.

     The National Drug Council of Uruguay estimates that roughly 120,000 people in Uruguay smoke Marijuana yearly, included in that figure are 75,000 who smoke it weekly and a further 20,000 who are daily users. So what does this mean? It means that 120,000 people will have much less contact with dealers who, if you’ve ever Pineapple Express, are a dodgy bunch of guys. There isn’t any conclusive proof that Marijuana is a gateway drug, but it certainly tends to be the first thing that people who end up trying more illicit substances sample first.  So by ensuring that it is government regulated, you’re going to be reducing the amount of contact that young kids who are curious about sampling anything more are going to have.

     Only time will tell if this scheme proves to be successful, hopefully it will pave the way for a more open discourse about Drugs rather than throwing a blanket over them and deeming them all to be dirty, depraved things. It’s a fairly Neolithic attitude to take when $1 trillion has been spent fighting an imaginary war with countless losses in human lives. Well done, Uruguay. Maybe, this is the first step to actually talking about Drugs in an open and serious manner. Are you watching, America? Stop your nonsensical shit and be realistic.

Alex Taylor lor18

I love this Reporter's Spanish accent.