Argentina is now home to one of two companies legally commissioned by the Uruguayan government to grow marijuana — news that has the potential to breed uncertainty over the actual position of Argentine authorities on the drug.
Uruguay technically legalized cannabis nearly two years ago, with the option to register yourself or to obtain the drug through pharmaceutical companies. But in reality, the practice was pretty unclear.
Yesterday however, it was announced that, after a technical and selective qualification process carried out by the Institute of Canabis Control and Regulation (Ircca), two companies (out of the 22 that applied) are now the proud, official owners of a government-granted license to produce and distribute marijuana.
Their product will be on sale in pharmacies in “no less than eight months” for US$ 1 a gram — a figure that is, according to Ircca management board president Augusto Vitale, competitive with the black market price of cannabis.
And in terms of its production, one Uruguayan company and one Argentine company have begun to cultivate marijuana that looks to be ready for sale in 2016.
They will begin by producing up two two tons a year, on state property, surrounded by security. This will be enough for registered citizens to get a 40g mensual fix or a 10g weekly fix.
All of this has, of course, a strict list of rules (11 to be precise) that authorities will have to stick to.
Customers will also have to go through the necessary registration process to be able to legally purchase from pharmacies (no, you can’t just rock up to the counter and ask for a spliff with your shampoo), and “the State will launch a campaign about the health risks of consumption,” explained the president of the National Board of Drugs, Juan Andrés Roballo.
How are Argentine presidential candidates expected to deal with the news that marijuana will be grown on their soil?
Victory Front’s (FpV) Daniel Scioli recently came out with an oh-so-liberal stand against the decriminalization of marijuana, calling drugs “the opposite of life.”
He is technically in line with jurisprudence on that one, as law 23,737 does regulate the consumption of all drugs, including marijuana.
However, the 2009 Arriola Case set a new precedent in the Supreme Court, concluding that you can roll up and smoke up to your heart’s content, so long as it is in private, it doesn’t jeopardize a third party and you have no commercial intentions.
So legalities and opinions are a little hazy when it comes to weed, and Uruguay’s latest cannabis push has done nothing to clear the air.
Here’s what each of the candidates have said on the matter:
Daniel Scioli: Anti-marijuana.
Mauricio Macri: Anti-marijuana. He will not legalize the consumption of marijuana and believes that it should be punished no matter what. He does concede, however, that “as a society, we are not read to have this discussion.”
Sergio Massa: Anti-marijuana. The consumption of marijuana should be punished no matter what. He would like to impose a fine for those who smoke it in the street.
Maria Stolbizer: Pro-marijuana. She is in favor of private consumption.
Nicolás Del Caño: Pro-marijuana. He is in favor of the legalization, production, distribution, comercialization and consumption of marijuana, so long as it is controlled by organizations such as ANMAT.
Adólfo Rodríguez Saá: He’s a bit elusive on the topic. Sorry to disappoint.