This is novel. Uruguay has today announced that it wishes to nationalise the cannabis industry. That is to say all production and distribution of weed will now be handled by the State and thus it will be completely legal to smoke dope. Half way there.
The Government of this country is described as left wing and progressive and argues that the measure is necessary to combat rising drug-related crime, decrease health risks for users, and counter ineffective US policies on drugs.
“We’re putting this forward as international policy,” says Sebastian Sabini, president of the parliamentary commission created to debate the bill. “The war on drugs has failed. There are more consumers and more violence.”
Spot on Seb. Your analysis is bang on the money. But…
If you accept that this is the case then surely this is also the case for heroin, cocaine etc? Indeed, in terms of health risks more so. Why not go the whole hog?
Clearly in Uruguay the price of pot will fall now that it is a legal commodity. Criminal gangs will thus leave that market ( to focus on higher margin goods such as heroin, cocaine, etc). That is how markets work. And so crimes committed by pot smokers to fund their habit will fall and the drug gang crime will have nothing to do with pot, just heroin, cocaine, etc.
My second concern is that the State will be in charge. I struggle to think of a State run organisation that is actually very efficient. Imagine we nationalised pot distribution in the UK and Bob Crowe was in charge of the Union involved? The Government of Uruguay could well end up as the only drug dealer in the history of mankind to lose money.
Having accepted the principle that prohibition does not work, it would have been far simpler to treat pot like tobacco: leave it in the private sector and just levy a tax on its sale. And having accepted that prohibition does not work for pot, why does the Government of Uruguay think it does work for heroin, cocaine, etc.
Needless to say the UN has opposed the idea saying that it breaks a 1961 UN Convention. Yup. Looking back at the past 51 years, the international war on drugs has been a real stand out success…