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Tax-free pot: Uruguay moves further in war against marijuana black market

Published time: May 19, 2014 19:03
View of a cannabis plant grown inside a house in Montevideo (AFP Photo / Miguel Rojo)

View of a cannabis plant grown inside a house in Montevideo (AFP Photo / Miguel Rojo)

Uruguay, which has legalized marijuana, will also exempt pot production and sales from taxes. The move is designed to keep prices low enough to undercut black market cannabis, according to government advisers on the legalization.

The principal objective is not tax collection. Everything has to be geared toward undercutting the black market,” Felix Abadi, a contractor who is developing Uruguay's marijuana tax structure, told Reuters. “So we have to make sure the price is low.”

Despite global criticism, in December 2013 Uruguay became the first country in the world to make it legal to cultivate, sell, and consume marijuana. Earlier in May, authorities signed regulations accompanying the law, specifying that every Uruguayan will able to buy in licensed pharmacies up to 10 grams of pot a week for just about US$0.90 per gram.

The low price was established in a bid to fight against drug cartels and compete with black market marijuana smuggled mostly from Paraguay, a neighboring South American country which is one of the region’s largest producers of illegal cannabis. But opponents of the law insist the legalization will only expose more people to drugs.

In the coming weeks, Uruguay will auction up to six licenses to produce marijuana. The government is also considering growing marijuana on a plot of land controlled by the Uruguayan military, which would help avoid the illegal trafficking of the pot.

Under the regulations, Uruguayan citizens over 18 years of age have three options to choose from if they wish to obtain cannabis: purchase it at pharmacies, join a smoking club of 15-45 members that can grow up to 99 plants per year, or cultivate up to six marijuana plants domestically. Each customer will have to register their preferred option with authorities. In any case, an individual will only be able to obtain 480 grams of marijuana per year.

Comments (17)


Vuk Marko 20.05.2014 10:57

Roland Adams 20.05.2014 04:58

Ple ase feel free to quote a recent study that supports your absurd hypothesis.


MRI scans shows that former marijuana smokers showed shrinkage of regions in the brain connected with working memory. Memory test shows that people who never used marijuana scored 37 times higher on average than those who had smoked pot (study done by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital). Anna Lidell is right. You should apologize to her.


brack obama 20.05.2014 10:39

This great news and a step in the right direction kudos to Uruguay & all the people good black market, killings incarceration for nonsense a thing of the past awesome i wish they did this in Mexico but we know the Obama's Bush's Clinton's etc etc will have hearts attack not say the spineless imbeciles puppets of the U.S. supposedly running Mexico we know how that works the U.S decision making elections and governments American democracy he he he lol!


Vuk Marko 20.05.2014 10:39

Roland Adams 20.05.2014 04:58

Please feel free to quote a recent study that supports your absurd hypothesis.


There is most recent study from 04/2014 published in The Journal of Neuroscience, April 16, 2014•34(16):5529 –5538 • 5529.

Also you can find it in CNN health portal (I can't post link since RT reports offensive language in that link which is strange).

"...t here are observable differences in brain structure with marijuana ..."
"Prelimina ry research has shown that early onset smokers are slower at tasks, have lower IQs later in life and even have a higher risk of stroke."

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