These are strange days for those of us that have campaigned long and hard for the legalization of cannabis over many decades. The USA continue to surprise everyone with state after state legalizing cannabis . Scientific researchers are seeing more medical uses for cannabis than anyone thought possible. Uruguay have already set history and become the first nation to legalize the production, transport, sale and enjoyment of cannabis. These are historic times for the cannabis connoisseurs as attitudes and laws towards cannabis continue to change. But the news that the Uruguayan Military have been asked to over-see the Uruguayan national cannabis harvest is one announcement that none of us saw coming!
President Mujica of Uruguay showed that politicians can be truly courageous with drug policy when he recently announced that Uruguay would become the first nation to legalize cannabis. And more details are now emerging from Uruguay about how they will implement that strategy. An interview with South American newspaper reveals that President Mujica has tasked the Uruguayan military with the job of overseeing the production of the national cannabis harvest. It’s quite a surprise, and probably not a responsibility that the military ever thought they would be given. But times are changing. Many Government employees these days are worried about job security, but getting involved in the state production of cannabis is more-or-less a guaranteed job for life.
President Mujica has said that the Army is an ideal team to handle the job, and he has several valid points
However, Mujica has also said that the military would not be expected to physically cultivate the cannabis plants themselves. The role of providing expert cannabis growing conditions would be supplied by skilled gardeners carefully selected for the job and drafted in to the base on special assignment. Presumably this is to prevent the Uruguayan military from getting too closely connected to their crop.
Part of the challenge will be to ensure that the crop is harvested at the perfect moment, the conscientious Uruguayan growers will have to perform the occasional smoke-test of the crops to ensure quality targets are being met, and President Mujica prefers that the ‘hands-on’ aspects are dealt with by civilians not soldiers. This will present the interesting spectacle of experienced cannabis growers working in military bases alongside trained soldiers to grow tons of pot. Only cannabis could produce such an unlikely alliance.
"The Ministry of Defence has many bases, we will see which one can offer the best conditions" said Defense Minister Eleuterio Huidobro, who was formerly leader of the Tupamaros guerrilla group before entering politics. The main considerations will be for the military to provide fertile land with water and a secure perimeter. “We can’t allow Uruguayan cannabis to illegally enter neighbouring countries” he explained. It has also been made clear that the soldiers are not allowed to enjoy the cannabis harvest while they are on duty, but presumably they are allowed to get stoned once they are off duty. After all, President Mujica has already made it clear that the whole point of his new regime is to make sure that people are no longer persecuted for cannabis use.
Surprisingly the Uruguayan Government expect that they will need only 10-20 acres of land in order to produce the national cannabis harvest. Then again the population of Uruguay is only 3 million and perhaps only 5-10% of the population will want to use cannabis. The Government has already stated that citizens will be allowed up to 40g per person each month and that the pricing will be fixed at affordable levels which will undercut the black-market supply.
Outdoors in tropical conditions the Uruguayan Army should be able to oversee some truly military grade pot, and with the right genetics yields of around a kilogram or more could be possible from each plant. With automatics (pot varieties, not weapons) it should be possible to produce several crops per year.
Uruguay is showing the rest of the world that it really is easy to tackle the issue of legal cannabis production and supply, all it really needs are politicians capable of showing a small amount of courage. Uruguay, overnight, has completely defeated organised crime which previously ran the cannabis supply industry. In other countries the war on drugs has taken decades and failed to get anywhere near that. In fact the only winners in the prohibition of cannabis are bosses of organised crime who pay 0% tax on an industry which has been gifted to them.
Prohibition of cannabis did nothing to reduce usage, the opposite was actually true. The prohibition of cannabis has succeeded in making cannabis the worlds most popular illegal drug. And every year politicians around the world spend €$Billions, as they have done for decades, continuing the ridiculous prohibition of cannabis despite the growing evidence that cannabis has numerous valuable medical properties.
Lets end this nonsense now. Legalize cannabis as Uruguay has done, and why not get the military to donate the land needed to grow it. Crazier things have happened before….
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April 4th 2014