Delay in Legal Marijuana Sales in Uruguay

Via the BBC:  Uruguay legal cannabis sale delayed to next year, says president

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica has said the start of legal cannabis sales will be delayed until next year due to "practical difficulties".

Sales in state-owned pharmacies were due to begin as early as November.

Under the new law the following will be the case:

Licensed pharmacies will sell the drug for less than $1 (£0.65) a gramme, with consumers allowed 40g (1.4oz) a month.

The bill specifies that each household may grow up to six cannabis plants, and that marijuana may be consumed in the same places as tobacco.

And, if memory serves, sales to foreigners would be prohibited (meaning no pot tourism for you!).

It will be interesting to see what this law does, once fully implemented, to the black market for the substance in Uruguay.

FILED UNDER: Latin America, World Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Ron Beasley says:

    The state of Washington has been having some problems because there is not enough pot available which seems strange since there was always plenty of it when it was illegal. Many of the people lining up to buy it were from Oregon. I don’t really understand this either since the illegal pot is cheaper.

  2. James Pearce says:

    It will be interesting to see what this law does, once fully implemented, to the black market for the substance in Uruguay.

    Just basing off what I’ve seen in my home state, I’d say this: The black market will be relegated to serving those who are not served by the legal market.

    In other words: Kids. After-hours requests. Bulk orders. That kind of thing.

  3. rudderpedals says:

    That’s gonna be a buzzkill. I suppose the black marketeers will find the delays are good for business.

  4. RGardner says:

    +1 on Ron B. A friend’s daughter won the supposed WA lottery and has a golden ticket (cough, the liquor privatization has been a fiasco for the small retailers) but they have no product to sell. Looking for August opening. Meanwhile my city of 200K (8 legal pot stores) has over 100 “Medical MJ” dispensaries. Three are in walking distance of my house, and their prices are about 1/3rd the legal recreational price. Every other small strip mall has a medical MJ store, often in a former Blockbuster Video location. Despite being legal.I’m not a customer, though I don’t care about those that partake – and I voted to legalize in WA.
    I was listening to the the other night about how it was going to impact BC Bud. Good riddance to this illegal part of the drug (fake) war.

  5. HankP says:

    @Ron Beasley: That’s because the state didn’t hand out the growing licenses until March, and like all plants pot takes a while to grow.

    BTW, to say that the system that was set up is excessively bureaucratic is an understatement. While it was designed by the state Liquor Control Board, the requirements are way beyond anything that ever applied to liquor since Prohibition. For example, every seedling must be bar coded and tracked from growth through harvest, distribution and final sale.

    However, don’t underestimate how popular this is going to be. I’m in my late 50s and I know lots of people my age that would often talk about how they’d like to indulge but didn’t want to go through the black market for a variety of reasons. Also, the price issue is a bit deceiving. Modern strains are so powerful that a gram would last an occasional user for weeks.