Uruguay is now the first country to legalize and start selling recreational marijuana nationwide.

The country has 16 pharmacies selling cannabis, and thousands of people have registered to be able to purchase it. In 2013, the country voted to legalize marijuana.

From Vice News:

“The weed, however, isn’t very strong. Uruguay is offering two different strains, dubbed Alpha 1 and Beta 1. Both have a THC content of just 2 percent, much lower than the levels found in legal recreational weed in the U.S. In Colorado, recreational marijuana contains an average of 18.7 percent THC; in Washington state, it’s 16 percent. The Uruguayan government is also putting a strict quota in place, limiting the amount of weed a customer can purchase.”

Marijuana legalization advocates are calling this a major win, and they hope other countries will follow Uruguay’s lead.

“This follows from increasing momentum by leaders in Latin America in calling for alternatives to the war on drugs,” Hannah Hetzer, an analyst at the Drug Policy Alliance, told the New York Times. “What’s so important about this is it takes a debate about the need for alternatives and provides an actual proposal for an actual policy.”

The president isn’t a smoker who wants everyone to be able to smoke, he just wanted to legalize marijuana to take power and money away from the drug cartels. In order to stay competitive with the cartels, the country will keep prices low and won’t tax it, Vox reports.

“Under the first batch of regulations released in May by the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis, marijuana will cost less than $1 a gram,” Vox states. “For comparison, marijuana in Colorado and Washington currently sells for roughly $10 to $20 a gram.”

It certainly does seem more logical to legalize marijuana to fight cartels than it does to make it illegal and punish those who use it. Perhaps with a bit of luck and some hard work, we’ll get the U.S. government to do the same thing. After all, cartels have already been hurt by states that have legalized.

[Photo via Matt Rubens/Wikimedia]

About The Author

Thor Benson is a traveling writer currently based in Los Angeles. His writing has been featured in Vice, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast and elsewhere. He can be found in a run-down whiskey bar. Follow him on Twitter at: @thor_benson.

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