Almost two years after passing legislation to legalize the growth and sale of marijuana, Uruguay’s government says the country is almost ready to begin commercialization. The process has been slowed by political and regulatory challenges, but may yet serve as a model for other Latin American countries seeking drug policy reform.
An in-depth study into the costs of crime and violence in Latin America concludes that they have a profound economic impact in the region, costing nations an average of three percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year.
According to a top Uruguayan government official, the recidivism rate for low-level drug offenders is 100 percent, a phenomenon that many other Latin American countries will have to confront as the domestic drug market continues to grow.
In 2013, Uruguay took the unprecedented step of legalizing the production and use of marijuana. Yet, two years on, a commercial market is still in the project stage: not a single gram of cannabis has been cultivated for sale in pharmacies. The process is mired in complex regulatory details. It seems that legalizing marijuana is more complicated than anyone had predicted.