Uruguay continues to move ahead on legalizing marijuana sales with a target of mid-2014. The South American nation’s drug chief, Julio Calzada, says that when marijuana hits the stores, it will be for sale at around $1 US a gram. Understandably, this may leave some with mouth agape: US dispensaries typically sell a gram of marijuana at eight times that price, or more.
Speaking to local press, Calzada explained that a gram would be enough to roll “one marijuana cigarette or two or three” smaller ones, reports The Guardian. Uruguay’s drug czar explains the push for marijuana legalization, which has already been approved by the lower house of Congress. By having the Uruguayan state sell the leafy drug, people are guaranteed a safe product.
It also aims cut into illegal activity and hurt drug dealers, instead of making money for the government. By setting the price so low, Uruguay’s citizens will be much more likely to buy the state-sold marijuana. In August, Calzada said a gram of marijuana would be priced at $2.50, but clearly this has been rethought. As RT reports, the illegal street price in Uruguay is around $1.40 for a gram of pot.
Calzada has also said in the past that sale of legal weed would be limited to Uruguayan citizens only. Those who wish to buy the drug will be required to register for a confidential database and license. Weed smoking citizens in Uruguay will also be limited to 40 grams per month.
Uruguay’s National Drug Board says that out of 3.3 million citizens, 120,000 are marijuana users. Other groups have estimated higher figures. Calculations say that almost 50 acres will need to be set aside to farm the crop. Private businesses will be allowed to obtain licenses to grow legal marijuana to provide to the state for sale.
Next year, Uruguay is expected to become the first nation in the world to license and regulate the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana for its citizens.
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