Juan Vaz, an activist and marijuana grower, tends to plants in Montevideo, Uruguay. Matilde Campodonico/AP
The small South American country of Uruguay has expressed interest in importing Canadian medical marijuana for its citizens’ consumption. Uruguay plans to legalize marijuana and offer it to its citizens as a taxed commodity for about $1 a gram.
In Canada, the cost for a gram of medical marijuana far exceeds their goal, with the average cost of legal pot being about $6.50 per gram. Contraband pot from Brazil or Paraguay sells for about $4 a gram.
Currently, there are just 10 licensed medical cannabis providers in Canada, with permission to grow just enough marijuana to meet the medical demands of Canadian patients. Even though marijuana is cheap and easy to grow, a surplus of medical marijuana large enough to supply an entire country is unlikely, even in the future.
The legal hurdles alone make this venture dicey at best. Just getting the marijuana from Canada to Uruguay poses some perplexing legal problems, not the least of which is transporting the marijuana past American waters, where marijuana is still largely illegal, with the exceptions of the states of Colorado and Washington.
Importing talent makes much more sense, as this will provide the Uruguayan government with its own ongoing supply of quality marijuana grown by Canadian know-how.
Canadian growers will only be generating enough marijuana to export in the time it takes Uruguay to set up its own greenhouses and begin producing marijuana, so the solution to the problem is to let the Uruguayans do it for themselves and become self-sufficient. With this model in mind, it may be possible to produce marijuana at the goal price of $1 per gram. It looks like Uruguay will have to grow its own marijuana and hope they can produce it cheaper than its black market competitors.
Marijuana grown under the Uruguayan sun will most likely be of high quality and will no doubt be very abundant.