At The Core Of Cannabis
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Politics and Activism

At The Core Of Cannabis

A look at the recent election in Uruguay, and how their legalization and regulation of marijuana could affect the world market.

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At The Core Of Cannabis

This past Sunday, a presidential face-off in Uruguay was set to change many future implications of the country – especially for its historic marijuana regulation (or lack there of).      

Tabare Vazquez, the Broad Front candidate, beat out opposition candidate Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou in one of the closest races seen yet – 53.6 to 41.1 percent – and the fate of the cannabis market in Uruguay was set to pass.   

The movement to legalize cannabis in Uruguay began in 2012, when President Jose Mujica announced that state-controlled production of the drug would be legalized in order to fight crime and health issues. The following year, the country’s senate passed a bill to legalize the personal production and sale of cannabis, with some regulation.  

Mujica was quoted saying that the legalization of cannabis in Uruguay was in efforts to “make a contribution to humanity.”   

The new law allows any citizens 18 years of age and older to buy up to 40 grams of marijuana per month. Consumption will be tracked through a government registration system. The law also states that cultivators are be permitted to grow 480 grams per year, coming from no more than six plants per cultivator.   

Non-citizens are restricted from taking part in growing, and no products can cross borders. Also in effect with this law is the rule that users cannot “smoke, leave lit, consume or ingest cannabis or cannabis-based products during work/school hours,” and driving under the influence of marijuana is strictly prohibited.   

But was the law put into place?   In July of 2013, the President announced that the implementation of the new law was to be postponed because of practical difficulties – which is why November’s election and the change in power became so important to the people of Uruguay.   

Uruguay was the first country to legalize the production, sale, and distribution of marijuana, but now recent polls found that nearly two thirds of the country is in opposition of the new law and support the repeal of the legalization plan.   

This controversy came at the same time as Mid-term elections in the U.S., where many states grappled over whether or not to legalize cannabis, and to what extent.  

As of November, 23 states and the District of Columbia have now legalized marijuana in some form. This includes medical and recreational use. Talk of the effects of legalizing the drug is constantly in play in the political world, as some people are asking hard questions…   

Is the U.S. legality of marijuana undercutting Mexican marijuana sales?  

Could legalizing marijuana have a positive effect on the rickety economy in the U.S.?   

Will the Military have to ease up on their zero tolerance policy because of some states’ recent legalization of marijuana?   

Back in Uruguay, the other one third of the population that is in support of the continuation of the legalization can take a sigh of relief, because with Vazquez’s entry into office, not much will change – the legalization will continue to be implemented.   

Vazquez promised to continue implementing marijuana regulation, including government regulated sales to adults. The government will turn to an organization they created, called the Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis in order to keep an eye on this new market.   

According to a Huffington Post article, at the time of legalization of marijuana in Colorado, users were paying $7-26 per gram, plus 25% tax – a huge jump from what Uruguay is hoping to charge. The Institute proposed a price point for cannabis in the country, starting at 20 Uruguayan pesos, which is equal to about 87 cents per gram.  

Will the low price point ease the illegal cannabis market in Uruguay? Will users follow regulation? Will it decrease crime and health issues as proposed?   

All eyes are on Uruguay, as cannabis regulation remains a hot topic in the world today.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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