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Uruguay To Sell Recreational Marijuana Tax Free


uruguay marijuana legalizationUruguay recently became the first country to completely legalize cannabis, and has big plans to create a recreational marijuana industry. This has lead to numerous other countries considering following suit. I think after other countries see how well it works, it will speed up the process of reform around the world. Hopefully the United States gets on that bandwagon sooner than later at the federal level.

A lot of people in the media and in the international community were shocked to see Uruguay make such a bold move. But I think the most shock came from the United States cannabis industry when it became known that Uruguay would be selling cannabis at such a low price – less than one dollar per gram. That price is considerably lower than prices in stores in Colorado.

It appears that Uruguay will be making another bold move with their cannabis policy – selling legal recreational cannabis tax free. Per Reuters:

Uruguay will exempt marijuana production and sales from taxes in a bid to ensure prices remain low enough to undercut competition from black market pot smuggled in from Paraguay, according to consultants advising the government on a legalization plan.

“The principal objective is not tax collection. Everything has to be geared toward undercutting the black market,” said Felix Abadi, a contractor who is developing Uruguay’s marijuana tax structure. “So we have to make sure the price is low.”

Uruguay will auction up to six licenses to produce cannabis legally in the next weeks. The government is also considering growing marijuana on a plot of land controlled by the military to avoid illegal trafficking of the crop.

One of the biggest selling points in the United States to reform cannabis laws and allow the industry to operate is that it will generate a significant amount of tax revenue. It seems that Uruguay is not as concerned with generating tax revenue. I think legalization combined with extremely low prices will catapult Uruguay to the status of ‘most cannabis friendly destination’ once sales start rolling out. How Uruguay will deal with an influx of foreign travelers is yet to be seen, but I think added tourism is ‘problem’ every nation would love to have.

Laura Blanco, President of Uruguay’s Cannabis Studies Association will be on hand at our conference in September to give attendees a first-hand account from the country making international waves by regulating cannabis sales. Join us in Portland, Oregon, as we bring together entrepreneurs, activists and professionals from across the globe to provide an international cannabis conference like no other.

Source: International Cannabis Business Conference


About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.


  1. if they tax the hell out of it, it still makes black market viable. Like Colorado is still going to have underground markets because $50 for 3g of even top shelf is about what it costs from a good connect. I support it though, I just want it to be open for everyone.

  2. Thank you for a thoughtful response to my two cents from yesterday. i like whats going on in Colorado(seems less govt. run and more transparent) and in the future I think Co.(and hope the rest of the U.S.) is remembered by history as “first to legalize”. The whole motivation behind Pres. Mujica’s plan is to “reduce use” . Well, if his G-men picked(or designed) the right 5 strains, Im afraid that plan will be all too successful.

  3. And I certainly can’t blame you for that.The words Monsanto and marijuana should never be put into the same sentence, it makes me shiver to think about what they would do to it. And I think thc has exponential uses, it just needs more study and close minded people (like the government) need to be FORCED into supporting it, and i feel the best way to do that is to highlight the little girl’s like Charlotte that get a chance to live because of it. People nowadays are so brainwashed by the media it’s going to take extraordinary things to wake them up, and here in America most people I’ve talked to (including weed supporters) are not aware of marijuana having anything other than thc. Yes the article was poorly written and somewhat misleading, never been here before so perhaps that’s normal. I think its a positive step at least, and the fact they don’t even intend to tax makes me think it may be for the right reasons. Your completely right that over here these same laws would be abused by big (and totally not evil, unless of course you feel controlling and poisoning the world’s food supply isn’t a positive thing) corporations that would likely find a way to destroy every positive effect of the plant. In fact that is already happening in states here (I mean US), where the methods they use to supposedly disinfect the medicinal bud have been proven to eliminate terpenes, one of the unique compounds found in marijuana that have qualities unlike any other plant known. And this is where their laws become murky, will they continually test the bud and eliminate any good mutations? It sounds like that isn’t the intent, but who knows at this point. It’s not really legalization but at least it will be among the most open marijuana laws in the world. I’m eager to see it play out, Uruguay is sounding nice for the future compared to here. And I agree all of your points are valid and should be considered, unfortunately this world is very disturbing and we have to always account for the elite attempting to control everything and appeal to the public’s empathy if we wish to remain progressive. Not that anyone should (and logically could) argue that thc is in some way a bad thing, its just sad to see how its abused in this country, and by that I mean most people here aren’t aware that marijuana has been shown to cure cancer, the public consensus still seems to be its to get high or just to fight pain, when as we know it does FAR more extraordinary things.

  4. Marijuana plants will be available through clone-only programs and all of the cannabis will be genetically market to ensure that it doesn’t leave the country and to make sure that people aren’t illegally cultivating cannabis.

    how can one be “illegally cultvating cannabis” if one’s country “completely legalized cannabis”?
    well, i guess if you think that THC’s only use is as an antibiotic, I can see how they got that one past ya.

  5. and my point is;
    TWB(first sentence):Uruguay recently became the first country to completely legalize cannabis, and has big plans to create a recreational marijuana industry.

    Toke of the town: (at least 3 weeks ago) Uruguay releases restrictive rules for marijuana use.

    there are still forces that want to take away whats natural and God-given and replace it with something more “controlled” and artificial. this type of journalism rolls out the red carpet for such forces.

    No agenda here, max, just a fan of TRUTH.

  6. i assume that when the author wrote “genetically market” he meant to say “genetically marked”. how would that be possible without genetic modification? yes as a grwr i know about clones, but again the only way to ensure that the plants NEVER exceed 15% is thru GMO. Natural cannabis has a phenomenon where it can change genetically depending on environmental influences. (if you ever saw a grower veg on a 13.5 hour day, thats the idea behind it. hes trying to bring out the “tropical” phenotypes by simulating the daylength in those parts of the world) my point is, the only way to stop this “genetic drift” is thru GMO, WHICH IS WAY SCARIER THAN AMERICAN PROHIBITION. see, our laws suck, but it keeps Monsan… well, you know who, out of the weed jar. legally, at least.

  7. I cannot be sure what agenda you support but from an objective point of view I question your arguments. Please don’t mimisunderstand, I am not an advocate of GMOs either however it is important to know the difference. Using clones as the main source doesn’t mean they’re genetically modified, amongst real growers it is a very common technique for consistency and efficiency reasons to use clones. This is understandable considering many (hard to say ratios for sure) marijuana consumers use for medicinal reasons and if you’re relying on it to help (and not to just get high) consistency becomes important for producers. As far as your point that on average the strains produced will hover around 15% thc, I do not see why this would be an issue. Oh so 15% thc isn’t strong enough? Bologna, for those who have serious medical conditions it is mainly used in a concentrated form where that 15% becomes far more effective. And as far as thc goes, it has been shown through numerous studies thatthc isis far less beneficial than other cannabinoids for medicinal applications. Cbd (usually the second most prevalent cannabinoid) along with cbn, have been found to increase tissue recovery speed, cause cancer cells to destroy themselves, and fight diseases such as MS, amongst other things. Yes, thc too has its benefits (mainly as an antibiotic, though more research us necessary) but has been attributed to the psychoactive effects that cause the buzz or high feeling, whereas Cbd so far seems to counteract that affect. So if their intents are as they stated, and for medicinal reasons; why would an average thc amount of 15% be a bad thing? By suggesting it would be bad ignores these realities: that the thc amount isn’t important compared to other cannabinoids (look up the Charlotte’s web strain from Colorado if you doubt this or would like to know more, or projectcbd.org). I don’t mean to be rude, rather don’t want people thinking all pot users just want to get high, and feel a good way of encouraging true scientific support would be to highlight these other, more diverse benefits that can be derived from marijuana. Here’s a quote from the president that seems to support what I said:
    “We don’t have the slightest interest in contributing to expanding the consumption of marijuana in its psychoactive form, fomenting the development of addiction,” Mr. Mujica said. I agree this is but a small step, so criticism on the subject should be as proactive as possible. I apologize if I’ve repeated things you know, just want to make sure people understand the many assets of this plant that make it so important.

  8. They are right about pricing the cartels out of business. Given the choice, almost everyone would prefer to purchase cannabis legally, but many buyers think twice when the retail price plus tax is two or three times the black market rate for the same product. However, most of Uruguay’s other ideas are just crazy.

  9. It’s a good start but as pointed out by reefer it is a far cry from true legalization… gotta admire the lack of greed with no taxes though

  10. Almost forgot the best part….
    Marijuana plants will be available through clone-only programs and all of the cannabis will be genetically market to ensure that it doesn’t leave the country and to make sure that people aren’t illegally cultivating cannabis. There will be a total of five strains available and none will produce plants higher than 15 percent THC on average. Anyone caught with marijuana not bearing the genetic markers would face arrest.

  11. It remains illegal for non-Uruguayans to purchase or consume cannabis.
    And even for those Uruguayans who want purchase, grow and use it are going to face some stiff regulations.

    To start, the government plans to limit sales to an individual 40 grams each month. The government-grown marijuana would cost about $1 per gram, but users would have to register with the country and purchase the pot at licensed pharmacies. Individuals can grow up to six plants at a time per house and harvest up to 480 grams every year. Every cannabis user’s usage will be kept in government databases. so……. looks like no weed tourism and The Weed Blog has a pretty fuckd up definition of “legalized” c’mon guys- i expected way better than this, considering the above text was copied from a THREE WEEK OLD toke of the town article.
    btw this comment is copied to my clipboard just in case TWB decides to “moderate” how much truth comes out in the comments section.

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