Thumbnail photo of Redwood Kush by felixtsao.
Uruguay legalized growing marijuana yesterday. That is old news already. The government there will allow people to grow up to 6 plants or join clubs who can have a maximum of 45 members that can grow 99 plants.
What is next for the Uruguay pot culture and the government of Chile, who will probably be the next in the region to follow suit?
Our reporter in Uruguay wrote last year about the pending legislation before it was passed into law. At the time, the Uruguay government had sought the advice of growers and regulators in the Netherlands and the USA. Seed producers from the Netherlands had come to Uruguay seeking a new market. They are certain to be on their way back to Uruguay today as Uruguay has said they will buy their seeds from abroad. The government says expect to wait 4 months to buy your first joint as that is how long it takes to go from seed to mature plant.
If you have been to a pot shop in California, Arizona, or Colorado, you have seen that growers and retailers market a wide variety of marijuana breeds. With exotic names like Purple Kush, these plants are crosses between the two strains: canabis indica and cannabis sativa and crosses of crosses, each of which is designed to highlight a particular characteristic, such as growing short and bushy as opposed to growing tall. Indica is said to give a body high which can induce “couch lock,” meaning you are liable to do nothing but sit on the couch and watch TV for a few hours after smoking that. Sativa is said to be a cerebral high that gives one energy to go do something and even focuses the thoughts so that one could, for example, concentrate on what they are doing with more clarity.
Most of the marijuana sold in Uruguay today is pressed bricks of marijuana from Paraguay. These are grown in the national forests there by growers who simply run away when the police come, and the usually do not come. They press it in order to make it more compact and easier to smuggle. They press it so hard that the seeds pop open. The pot is glued together with ammonia, gasoline, and not sure what else. Either way it is not quality and perhaps tainted with some chemicals bad for the health.
The Paraguayan growers do not pay much attention to what strain they are growing nor the quality. You know this, because they do not cull out the males, thus the females are pollinated and produce seeds, which takes energy away from the female plant as it is putting forth effort to produces flowers, which turn into buds, which contain the sticky resin THC, the chemical that makes you high. Only the female buds are worth smoking. Throw away the male plants and the leaves trimmed from the female plant as these have very low levels of THC.
Uruguay smokers are certain to quit buying marijuana from Paraguay and grow their own superior plants using good imported seeds and growing techniques that do not involve hiding your plants from the law. Montevideo is certain to see grower clubs pop up like they have in the USA promoting quality sensimilla. (The word “sensimilla” means “without seeds.” It is very close to the Spanish “sin semilla.” Americans have been using that word for decades perhaps without knowing how it translates from the Spanish.)
What will happen now in Chile? This country too is overrun with marijuana from Paraguay and is, like Uruguay, home to progressive-thinking politicians, notwithstanding some ultra-Catholic, very conservative factions who would oppose any change in the status quo. In Chile, when the police make major arrests, for some reason they call the pot cannabis sativa. Either that has become short-hand for word marijuana of any type or there is no knowledge of cannabis indica.
Change is on the horizon in Chile. Socialist President Bachelet will return to office in March for her second term all but assured of winning the Presidential election run off this Sunday. In the first round of the elections her supporting coalition of centrist and left-wing political parties won sizable majorities in both houses of congress. These include many young persons who are members of the Communist party who rose up from the ranks of the recent student protests.
Early in the election season, candidate Bachelet would not answer directly when pressed on her position on marijuana. But this week on television she said the law needs to be clarified as too many youth are in jail. She made reference to something similar to: “you can smoke it but not procure it, which is a contradiction.” The current law allows for growing and smoking but only for personal use and only at home. The definition of what is “personal” as opposed to “trafficking” is up to the discretion of the judge. The student movement leaders, other political parties in the President’s coalition, and two Socialist Senators already in the congress all have called for making this distinction clear. One of these two Senators freely admits that he likes to smoke it himself.
The current President and the Minister of Health say that marijuana is a health and not a criminal matter. These two come from the moderate wing of their conservative coalition. The right wing has blocked action on modifying the current law (known as law 20.000), but the conservative government is on the way out.
At the top of the agenda for the new President is increasing taxes on businesses to pay for a free university education system. It was that promise which gained her the support of the powerful student movement. Sometime after that, look for the current marijuana law to be changed. The only logical way to change it would be to adopt the Uruguay and US model. To sanction use but not cultivation would invite continued smuggling from Paraguay and all the violence and corruption associated with that.
(2) Readers Comments
April 21, 2017
April 15, 2017
April 15, 2017
April 06, 2017
Judging a creative writing contest is to pretend authority and, even m
Anita! I know someone who wants to work in Chile but as electrician. D
I really enjoyed this story. It made me think about my own predisposit
Thank you, Scott.
I have been living in Santiago for about one year and I can confirm th