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Weeks from Legalization, Uruguay’s Cannabis Experiment to Look Far Different Than the U.S.

 In coming weeks, cannabis-seeking citizens in this small South American nation will be able to walk into a pharmacy and buy government-approved marijuana for the state-mandated price of $1.30 a gram. No questions asked. No doctor’s note required.

If that sounds like an attempt to create a stoner republic on the South Atlantic, would-be tourists should know a few things.

Uruguay is the world’s first country to fully legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. But under its strict rules, there will be no Amsterdam-style smoking cafes, and foreigners won’t have access to the national stash.

Nor will there be shops selling ganja candies, psychedelic pastries or any of the other edible derivatives offered in pot-permissive U.S. states such as Colorado and Washington, where entrepreneurial capitalism fertilizes the United States’ incipient marijuana industry.

Instead, Uruguay’s government has developed a legalization model whose apparent goal is to make marijuana use as boring as possible. A vast regulatory bureaucracy will determine everything from the genetic makeup of the plants to the percentage of psychoactive compounds in their flowers. [Read more at The Washington Post]

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