Affordable Cannabis


In my ongoing series about the legalisation of cannabis we can look at Uruguay for the model for legalisation. Their model is not dissimilar to that which our MPs put in place for synthetic cannabis.

Uruguay is set to become the first country in the world where the sale of cannabis will not only become legal and government-controlled, but at around $1 a gram probably also the one with the most affordable marijuana anywhere.

A senate vote to legalise the drug that is expected in mid-November as part of an effort in the South American country to explore alternatives in the war on drugs.

The head of Uruguay’s National Drugs Board, Julio Calzada, said the government would set the price of cannabis low in the hope of pushing drug traffickers out of the market.

“The illegal market is very risky and of poor quality,” he said. “The price of marijuana from Paraguay that gets sold on the streets here is about $1 a gram, so we’re going to set the price of government-controlled cannabis at around that same price. We want to snatch the market away from the drug traffickers.”  

It will take a few months after that to organise a system through which cannabis will be sold freely at pharmacies.

“The system will be in place around mid-2014,” Calzada told the Uruguayan newspaper El País. “So there’ll be time to harvest and start selling.”

Smoking cannabis has long been legal in Uruguay, but growing, carrying, buying or selling it has been punishable by prison terms. About 120,000 of the country’s 3.4 million population consume cannabis at least once a year, according to the National Drug Council. Of these, 75,000 smoke it every week and 20,000 every day.

“In reality, cannabis only costs about half a dollar a gram to produce in Uruguay,” said Juan Vaz,46, a computer programmer and veteran legalisation campaigner from the capital city, Montevideo. “So when the government says that by next year we could be buying it at $1 a gram, that sounds very reasonable.”

The proposed price it is considerably lower than that of legal cannabis in the US states of Washington and Colorado where the drug has already been legalised. In those American states marijuana sells for between $8 and $17 a gram.

A dollar a gram makes an ounce about $28-30…now that is affordable weed!


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  • blokeintakapuna

    Imagine what it could sell for on the International market if there was value added to it before being on-sold, such as medicinal marijuana butter – where dosages, strength and quality were a known certainty!
    Strewth the demand World-Wide by chronically and terminally ill patients would be such that Fonterra or some other butter manufacturer would be able to pay their raw product producers – the cockies – considerably more than at present – and still not be able to keep up with World-wide demand.
    Our NZ economists would tell you that if Rural NZ were to get a 75-100% pay increase without any additional inputs, the flow-on effects for communities and all of NZ would be massive. Cockies – how does $15/Kg sound?
    There would be no need for an unemployment benefit either – as everyone everywhere could grow this medicinal product, on-selling it to the butter manufacturer. Not only would unemployment in NZ become a thing of the past – but Pacific Island countries close by would also follow NZ’s legislation lead also and then all of their people would have their own self-employment capabilities also.
    NZ would not need to support these countries with tens of millions in aid each year – they could support themselves!
    Pragmatism Mr. Key… The Alcohol / Pot hypocrisy is just a very costly joke… for individuals, families, communities, NZ society… and the numerous industries that would be created by eliminating just this one hypocritical law surrounding this God-given herb.
    Just sayin’… that’s my 2c worth anyway…

    • That a profitable niche right there.

    • From my research having it made to medicinal quality standards would mean the following. 1. You could buy specific strains for specific uses. I believe it can help you go to sleep, I would be interested in something I could put inside a vaporizer, have a few puffs then night night nurse instead of addictive sleeping tablets.2. It can have the effect in small quantities of improving your sex life. 3. it can help those who suffer from epileptic seizures. It can help with appetite. it can help with nausea and so on and so forth. Tobacco on the other hand has no known positive side effects and Alcohol makes you Mr Droopy in the sack though I guess passing out and then choking on your own vomit might pass for helping you sleep LOL

  • Toryboy

    I fail to see how turning everyone into “Lotus-eaters” is a good idea.
    The hypocrisy of this is just astounding; I imagine those same people will be the first to pass laws against binge drinking and cigarette smoking…because it’s ‘bad for you’.

    • redeye

      Imagine all you like. But your imagination doesn’t make for an argument.

    • blokeintakapuna

      “I fail to see how turning everyone into “Lotus-eaters” is a good idea.”
      I think something similar was the shrill about house wife’s becoming alcoholics because wine would soon be sold in supermarkets…

      • Toryboy

        Nevertheless – decent, respectable people do not take illegal drugs or want to legalise them.
        Would you give a syringe full of heroin to your child?

        • Bunswalla

          Another rational, logical argument without an incredible leap from smoking a joint in your own home, to giving your child a syringe full of heroin. Nice.

          • Muffin

            Nice retort buns!

        • blokeintakapuna

          I don’t even know where to start with a reply to that comment – except research the “politics of marijuana” then try “the benefits and uses…”
          .. then let’s have a credible, open, transparent debate…

        • Mr_Blobby

          Sensationalist rubbish.

          Lets look at heroin seeing as you have mentioned it.

          90% of the Worlds heroin is grown in Afghanistan. Under the Taliban, production dropped massively. Under the US occupation production has increased to new highs.

          150,000 US troops in Afghanistan, a country not much bigger than New Zealand and yet there is more cultivation of poppies than ever before.

          Now the original budget for the war on drugs was US $100 Million. At last look the latest budget was, adjusted for inflation, 22 times higher.

          Yet the drug problem in the US has grown.

          Now you would think the answer would be to spray the poppy fields during the growing season, then put some boots on the ground to ensure that they were not replanted.

          Yes there is harm in just about every endevour man undertakes, but there are better ways of mitigating it.

          Prohibition does not work, and the war on drugs is just a distraction to keep the masses thinking that our politicians are working in our best interests.

          • blokeintakapuna

            well said Mr.

          • Muffin

            Or the politicians are supported by mafia who were pissed about the lack of supply…..

        • James

          Decent, respectable people do take drugs; they just don’t let drugs take over their lives – so similar to alcohol then where decent, respectable people are able to enjoy a glass of wine without starting a fight in the street.

          • WABloke

            Too true. I have taken a shitload of drugs over the years, held down full-time jobs, brought up two wonderful children, always paid my bills and never been to jail. Smoking pot leads to harder drugs…..WTF ever. Making the choice to take harder drugs is down to the individual. The worst drug I’ve encountered is alcohol. Talk about wreck lives………Uppers, downers, P, acid, smack, pot, amyl nitrate, pipes, needles, you name it I’ve been there. Fuckin’ funny how the lame-arse academics tell you what happens when you take something but they have never tried it themselves. It’s about control……mental discipline. I pity those who don’t have it; alcoholics, cigarette smokers, pin cushions with a monkey on their back….sad, but don’t tell me what I can and can’t take on a Saturday night. James: I’ve always been out for a good time and often been the peace-maker in the street, I agree that most want to have a glass (or a joint) and not start a street fight. Just because you choose ecstasy over beer or pot over a Sav B doesn’t make you a drug addict or a bar-room brawler.Most often it’s quite the opposite.

        • Harvey Wilson

          Yeah, decent, respectable people become mayors and MP’s

          • Mr_Blobby

            Preoccupied with where their next root is going to come from.

        • wiltinpenis

          Of Course! Our children will only be allowed LEGAL HIGHS. FFS.

        • WABloke

          If that child was capable of holding that syringe steady while I strapped my elbow, yes.

    • Mr_Blobby

      Understand where you are coming from.

      The problem I have is that the current binge drinking, anti smoking, illegal drugs policies, have had absolutely no affect. At best they have achieved nothing at worst the have contributed to the problem.

      We have all seen the well written, harm reduction reports, and policies on this and that, but not one of how the last policy has worked and the next policy is just more of the same.

      What do they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

  • Agent BallSack

    Its way cheaper there. here you pay $20 for about 1.5grams

    • Hawkesbayallday

      or 250 for 28gms in the mighty hawkes bay :)

      • Agent BallSack

        Must visit again soon!

    • Bunswalla

      Apparently (cough cough)

  • Statehousekid

    Good to stop rat bag drug dealers benefiting from the drug market. However I am worried about the free access to young adults and the impact it will have on their lives. I have already had a very bad experience with cannabis in my family. I cannot see how legalising it will help families to live good responsible lives.

    • Hawkesbayallday

      Its not just the pot though, there are generally a few factors when someone has “a bad experience with cannabis”, such as limited money or contact with indesirables when puirchasing it illegally. Also how many people do you know that have had “a bad experience” with alchohol?

    • wiltinpenis

      If we had positive legislation regarding the use of marijuana instead of the negative, the impact would be less on the younger generations.

  • Mr_Blobby

    Never get off the ground here.

    The political wing of the Gangs would make sure of that.

    There preferred option is to make smoking illegal, a nice add on for there other illegal activities.

    Said it before will keep on saying it, nowhere has prohibition worked.

    The war on drugs has actually increased the supply. Especially out of Afghanistan, i sit just coincidence that the US army is in residence.

  • Monique Angel

    That is an interesting move – setting the price rock bottom to drive out the cartels. A lot of pop culture references of NZ : campuses and protests in Wikipedia BTW.

    • blokeintakapuna

      Hey Monique – nice avatar pic too btw… is that a necklace I can see?

      • Monique Angel

        It’s a pearl necklace.

        • blokeintakapuna

          It’s been a while, but I always used to be able to pick out a pretty girl from a distance that liked a pearl necklace…


    Is it just me?
    Much has been made by one side of this argument about the evils of cannabis but it seems to me the focus is always on smoking the stuff, i.e. forcing great gouts of toxic smoke into your lungs….surely a bad idea with pretty much everything except air, at the best of times.
    But I would like to know more about the implications of ingesting the stuff by other methods. The butter, the chocolate cookies, in other words eating the stuff.
    Seems to me to be a lot easier on the body.

    • blokeintakapuna

      It most likely would be – especially for asthmatics etc. Google “medicinal marijuana products”… and you’ll have more info than you could read in a month…

    • James

      Most of the people that I know who “smoke” pot no longer smoke it either – vaping is the way forward! Which is something that we can thank the medical marijuana industry for as it used to be the only realistic options were unhealthy smoking or eating it – but now there are a whole multitude of methods to partake – most of which are healthier than mixing it with some loose baccy and smoking a joint!

      If you do smoke and haven’t tried vaping then I encourage you to get a vaporiser – it really is much, much better for you and those around you!

  • Bikersteve

    Is that with GST?
    Will that allow my Income tax to be reduced?

  • Rimutaka

    The current drug laws are a farce, could someone please tell Judith Collins and Ann Tolley