Cannabis in Paraguay
Cannabis smokers in Uruguay will be allowed to buy 20 cannabis cigarettes from the state, under new plans. The move is a bid to stamp out organized crime. Users will be able to purchase up to 40g (1.4oz) per month - enough for 20 cannabis cigarettes.The drug will be regulated by the state and sold at the market price, currently around £21.60.
Cannabis smokers will be given cards with a bar code allowing them to buy up to the legal limit per month. The government hopes to eliminate the black market in cannabis through the radical proposal. President Jose Mujica has previously announced plans to grow up to 150 hectares of cannabis for sale to users.
He said: 'We are losing the battle against drugs and crime in South America. Somebody has to be the first.' Interior minister Eduardo Bonomi said recently: 'The negative effects of consuming marijuana are far less harmful than the outbreak of violence associated with the black market.'
Julio Calzada, director of the National Drug Council, said the drugs sold at licensed stores 'will have a strict quality control'. Polls suggest around 60 per cent of Uruguayans are against the sale of cannabis. Former president Tabare Vazquez said: 'People should not consume marijuana, it's a simple as that.' And economist Carlos Casacuberta said the plan was unlikely to wipe out the black market in the drug. He said: 'The drug traffickers will react as any other business would - they will look to compete with the government's marijuana, to find their niche. 'There will be two models of marijuana, the legal and the illegal.' The Uruguayan government estimates there are around 18,500 people who use cannabis every day in the country.
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