Uruguay is making history, having legalised marijuana for recreational use, medical use, and even private cultivation. Although still working out many of the kinks, the government is attempting to destroy the black market while regulating fair and legal sales. One of the kinks in the new system is that it is looking like medical marijuana could cost more than recreational pot, as reported by NBC.
On December 10 2013, Uruguay became the first country to legalise marijuana. Citizens are allowed to cultivate up to six plants in their house and grow clubs can cultivate significantly more. All sales have to go through the government, who regulate prices. Prices remain similar to that of illegal black market pot imported from Paraguay. Smoking pot on the job or while driving is still illegal with punishments including fines and destruction of weed stashes. The government is working on setting up sanctioned government-run dispensaries from a selected list of organisations, but as it stands, anyone, from your average stoner to cancer patients can get their hands on a reasonable amount of weed, as long as they’re willing to enjoy responsibly.
Medical Marijuana in Uruguay
Medical marijuana in Uruguay tends to have a stronger THC content than its recreational brother. It’s grown separately and with more care, and because of this, an official National Drug council spokesperson says that it may be more expensive. Previously, officials said that they would keep the price of marijuana to around $1 per gram, but as it turns out, marijuana will be priced differently according to strength, and only the weakest will be $1 per gram.
In an interview, Diego Canepa, president of Uruguay’s National Drugs Council said that there is no way of knowing if medical marijuana will actually cost more.
Because the government is still in the process of setting up the regulation of marijuana and setting up government run dispensaries, it isn’t possible to know exactly how the system will be running when it has been fully implemented, but with the way things are going at this stage it looks as though marijuana will be more expensive for medical users than recreational users.
It is unclear on whether the government in Uruguay plan to tax medical marijuana at the same rate as recreational marijuana, or whether they plan to subsidise it. This could have an impact on prices.
Medical Marijuana Worldwide
Higher prices for medical marijuana would make Uruguay the exception to the rule that medical marijuana is cheaper than recreational pot. In the US, both Washington and Colorado had thriving medical marijuana markets before legalisation of recreational weed, and still do. Recreational weed is subject to taxes that medical marijuana is not, and medical marijuana is consequently significantly cheaper than its recreational counterpart.
Both Israel and Canada have legalised medical marijuana (although not recreational marijuana) and it is heavily subsidized, meaning that patients do not need to pay too much out of pocket.