A kind school friend (with whom I did not smoke dope, mostly because she and I were 10 years old at the time) has sent me a newspaper article from El Pais about the interest engendered by the Uruguayan cannabis experiment. As readers of this blog will know, nothing, but absolutely nothing, not even the desperate desire for instant gratification, speeds up the slow process of the local legislative and bureaucratic deliberations. It will be another four months of deep deliberation, assisted by copious quantities of whisky before the weed is made available, at a cost of 0.7 Euros per gram. That is precisely the same as the current black market street cost. No fools, these legislators. They know they are taking a gamble, but since all other countries have failed to reduce actual cannabis use, they may be on to a winner. They assume that the consumers will prefer a quality assured product, and that the income stream to criminal gangs will be reduced. Perhaps.
However, in an unexpected twist, a new stream of dope heads has opened up: governments. Canada, Israel and Chile have been in talks with local officials about buying large quantities of weed for their own, entirely legal, approved users of medicinal cannabis, as part of pain control for chronic conditions.There is talk of vast laboratories, and government cannabis farms.
So, to the export benefits of beef, lamb, rice, soya bean, tourism and football players, we will shortly be able to add La Droga Uruguaya. All of this can only happen once the laws are finally passed. But the legislators are on holiday. Drinking whisky.