Uruguay Legalizes Pot Putting the Drug Warriors, Fearing the 'Domino Effect', in a Tailspin

Thousands of Uruguayans descended on the plaza in front of the legislative palace.

Earlier this week, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize both the sale and production of marijuana...sorta. Uruguay's law immediately came under attack by the The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), a UN organization, when INCB chief Raymond Yans said Uruguay's law was illegal under international law. This will be, if it goes any further, an interesting debate in that marijuana isn't a narcotic and should never have been part of the board's jurisdiction. Were that alone to be acknowledged by the UN would put the 'drug warriors' in a serious tailspin.

Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica a former Tupamaros Guerrilla, is the major driving force behind this 'experiment' as he calls it. The law itself is only intended to apply to Uruguain citizens. it's not supposed to be a tourism booster [wink, wink]. Unsurprisingly the airline industry is already planning many extra flights to meet the pothead demand by college kids and deep-pocketed celebrities alike. Apparently Sting and Richard Branson are far a-head of the hordes flocking to Uruguay curve, but others like Snoop Dogg and Ziggy Marley will join 'em soon flying in on Virgin Airways eh.

Setting up the world’s first national marketplace for legal marijuana is another victory against the U.S.-led war 'Drug War', clearly they were right about the domino theory [they just had the wrong issue back then]. The Uruguay domino may tip other countries over into passing tightly regulated laws that have been slowly tweaked in response to all the issues already beginning to arise. Or it may cause unpredicted bumping in the night.

One article from The Economist [probably not populated by potheads] titled 'Weed All About It'  is a good recent history. The other from Bloomberg titled 'Can Uruguay Handle the Pot Business?' gives a much more nuanced picture of the not-so-clear future ahead because putting a price on marijuana is a tricky issue. The government has talked about charging $1 per gram of cannabis in order to price traffickers out of the market, but that's wishful thinking.  “The costs of production will be higher so the only way to match” illegal pricing “will be a subsidy," Senator Jorge Larranaga, an opponent of the law, argued in the National Party’s magazine.

Uruguay will find out soon IMO that the small mom and pop marijuana farmers they'll be competing against have huge market advantages. Diversification, ability to quickly adjust prices, many genetic types to combat predators like bugs and molds...if making quality marijuana available cheaply sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

We'll see plenty of demand in Uruguay in the coming years to provide the new legal growers, the longtime outlaw growers and the majority who will do both, with customers. It's all so dumb really. This supply side regulation mentality will be as unsuccessful here as elsewhere. Demand drives every market, including the pot market. Worldwide the demand for pot is skyrocketing. None of Mujica's regulations or good intentions will change that.