Destinations Central & South America

Uruguay’s government is about to start selling a little weed on the side

Excerpt from Businessweek

Sep 14, 2012 8:58 am

Skift Take

Uruguay is taking a different approach than previously pot-friendly destinations like Amsterdam. Instead of being just a place where the habit is indulged, the state is becoming a dealer in an attempt to cut out criminal gangs who currently control the business.

— Jason Clampet

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For decades, Uruguay has been best known for the tranquil beaches of Punta del Este and picturesque Colonia, a 17th century town on the Río de la Plata. One of South America’s smallest nations, it may soon have another claim to relative fame as home to the world’s first government-run marijuana market.

Leaders in Mexico, Colombia, and other Latin American nations wracked by cartel violence are calling for a new approach in the U.S.-led war on drugs. Uruguay President José Mujica’s solution is to not just legalize pot but turn the state into the sole supplier, replacing dealers who often engage in turf wars as they move $30 million to $40 million of the drug illegally each year, according to Uruguayan government estimates.

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