Uruguay Legalizes Pot, Stumbles … Uruguay's decision last year to legalize marijuana was sold to the country's citizens as a way to defeat the criminal gangs responsible for almost all of the 22 tons of pot that are grown or smuggled into the country every year. The trouble is that the latest rules, as designed, suggest that the country may end up undermining the law's intended goal. – Bloomberg
Dominant Social Theme: Legalizing drugs is pretty cool.
Free-Market Analysis: Uruguay legalized cannabis, but perhaps infighting between anti-drug warriors and tolerant "new wavers" has resulted in a setback – as the legalization is fraught with government control.
Is this what we call "directed history"? Right after Uruguay legalized cannabis, The Economist magazine – ever a mouthpiece of the elite – named Uruguay the "country of the year." Various high-profile internationalists seemed very happy with Uruguay's direction. But now they seem less so. This Bloomberg editorial is most critical of the turn that Uruguay has taken.
It's possible that the current Uruguay regulation of cannabis conforms to the vision of George Soros and others. But it seems more likely that – as this Bloomberg article implies – Uruguay has taken a wrong turn. If so, this article is one of the first comprehensive critiques of a governmental outcome that will eventually be changed.
Here's more on what Uruguay has decided on for now:
Uruguay's government will function as a marijuana monopolist, claiming the power to regulate the seeds used to grow pot, while limiting the amounts allowed for planting at home. In effect, Uruguay is trying to have it both ways: It is legalizing marijuana while imposing a limit on consumption.
This combination of monopoly and rationing, as in most economic activities, almost always leads to market distortions and unforeseen consequences.
The government's thinking is a muddle: At the same time that it bets on the free market to help undermine drug kingpins, it refuses to trust markets to allocate resources. Regulating the use of pot seeds may be better than fighting drug lords, but it's a poor use of the state's means and may only foster demand for non-approved weed.
The government also seems to distrust consumers. It turns out Uruguay will force legal consumers – those age 18 or older – to register as buyers and will limit their purchases to 40 grams a month. Signing up may not be something every marijuana user wants to do, and dictating marijuana consumption is as bad as banning it in the first place and it probably won't work.
Uruguay's decision to price state-approved marijuana at $1 a gram may be competitive with the current black market rate, but the state's tight rules will only prompt consumers to supplement their legal pot consumption with the illegal kind. The government's attitude is a clear signal that its objective is as much to control use as to defeat the criminals.
… On its face, opening up the pot business in Uruguay is a good first step in dealing with the illegal drug trade. Yet it may take another generation for Uruguay to recognize that drug consumption, like alcohol use, is largely a matter of personal choice that can't easily be curbed by government decree.
This article makes the point that when it comes to cannabis, Uruguay is now in the business of fixing prices for an entire industry. In fact, this can only lead to a renewed black market.
If Uruguay continues along this path it probably won't much reduce black-market trafficking because the black market will supply a similar and even better product at a lower price without demanding that people sign some sort of public document attesting to their use of the drug.
The whole point of this exercise supposedly was to remove the criminal influence from the production and ingestion of cannabis. After beginning splendidly, Uruguay officials – as the article points out – have acted in a way that reverses most of the benefits that could have been expected from "legalization."
We are left with several puzzling scenarios to consider. The first is that this regulatory solution has been created as part of a larger dialectic that will serve as a template for legalizations to come. The issues will be discussed and resolved in Uruguay and the rest of the world is then supposed to be instructed by the upcoming debate.
The second scenario we have mentioned already: That the current regulatory regime is the work of forces that simply don't trust legalization or want it to work. Either of these scenarios arrives at the same conclusion: There is going to be considerable additional debate once the impracticality of these regulations becomes apparent. And eventually, the regulations will be rationalized and the private sector will make inroads.
There is a more ironic point to make, however: This editorial is posted on Bloomberg.com. As mayor of New York, Bloomberg banned certain fats from restaurant usage, removed "supersize" soft drink containers, removed smokers from bars, regularly attacked gun rights and reduced the rights of drivers to move about in the center of the city.
These regulations were a result of Bloomberg's vision for the city but they also contradict a main point of this editorial: "personal choice … can't easily be curbed by government decree."
In fact, globalist elites have no problem legislating against natural law and innate human behavior, at least not in the 21st century. When it doesn't suit the globalist agenda, the debate suddenly is stilled.
When it comes to more important methodologies of social control, such rhetoric is offered up to catch people's attention without making a serious difference. Months after Edward Snowden's exposure of the NSA, snooping continued unabated. What HAS occurred is that Snowden's accusations have effectively removed control of the Internet from the US democratic system and placed it in the far worse hands of the world "community."
This is the kind of directed history we often refer to, where results are steered in the direction the power elite intends to go. Uruguay is now involved in this predictable process. Our assessment would be that the upcoming debate will result in private sector participation in cannabis production but that the process will be predictably regulated.
This may well serve as a template for drug-policy debates in other regions of the world.
It will all look very reasonable and civilized. And surely that's just the point ….