24 January 2017
The article reveals
The delays in the implementation of the legalization law have left the door open for drug trafficking, and it appears that the illegal marijuana trade will remain a lucrative business for at least the near future.
Marijuana was initially to be sold legally in pharmacies and under the government’s purview beginning in July 2016. But faced with reluctance from small business owners as well as other unforeseen events, President Tabaré Vázquez’ administration was forced to push back the date to some point in 2017.
The regulation of the marijuana business — a decision taken in 2012 by then-President José Mujica that took aback the international community — has three objectives: undercut the criminal profits of an industry whose annual worth is estimated to be between $30 and $40 million; keep regular consumers away from illegal sales places known as “street selling points”; and provide drug users with a product absent of harmful substances through regulated sales in pharmacy.
Despite the aforementioned delays, some production and consumption of marijuana has already been legalized. Frequent and chronic users can now legally home grow the plant for personal use, or become members of registered clubs that constitute a separate legal access point from those planned in pharmacies. The only legal requirement to access the regulated drug market is to be a citizen or resident of Uruguay, thereby by blocking out drug tourism.