For much of the world, Uruguay mean "Legal Cannabis", so let us begin by looking at government numbers:1
- Adquirentes 28.470
- Cultivadores 6.819
- Clubes Membresía 107
- Farmacias 17
Let us walk through these numbers. Just under 30,000 bipeds have registered to stand in line at 17 pharmacies for plastic baggies of subsidized government weed 5-10 grams at a time for no more than 40 total grams a month. The 40 total grams is difficult for buyers to achieve because the government can't grow enough to satisfy this small registered demand. Registering as a buyer involves going to the post office with a cedula, proof of address in the form of a utility bill or letter from the local police stations, and then filling out an application that involves getting fingerprinted.
The 107 membership only cannabis clubs each have between 15 and 45 members, with the club's license coming into danger should the number of members fall too low or climb too high. These clubs allowed to grow up to 99 plants at a time and are bound by substantial regulatory compliance burdens. Before going to the post office to register as a club, the involved parties have to formally register a "civil association" with the Ministry of Education and Culture. Membership in one of these clubs usually runs 2,500 to 5,000 pesos (80 to 160 USD-ish)2 monthly and one time initiation fees to join a club starting around 15,000 pesos (470 USD-ish).
Finally there are just under 7,000 people in the country who registered to grow their own cannabis, up to six mature plants at a time for up to 480 grams annually. The application process involves going to the post office with a cedula showing citizen or finalized permanent residence status, a utility bill, and not getting fingerprinted like the registered buyers. In exchange for registering as a home grower, it becomes no big deal under the law for the homegrower to have up to the full 480 grams of product in their domicile at a time. The buyer and club member, per the letter of the law, only get to have up to 40 grams at a time before the law says problems can happen.
Now anyone at all, registered or not, gets to possess 40 grams of cannabis without regard for whether they are a citzen, resident, or tourist. While many Uruguayos will wank around trying to insist "tourists can't have marijuana", as long as the act of charity, commerce, or generosity which put cannabis in tourist hands isn't subject to very unusual police attention, a tourist can smoke or eat as much cannabis as they want. Once it is in their hands, it is theirs
Now that the wank of officiality is out of the way, we can proceed to substantive matters.
The Plant Itself
Cannabis is called weedfor a reason. Cannabis readily thrives anywhere in the world with a suitable climate, and it will do its damnest as a strictly annual plant to survive in hostile climates waiting to stumle upon the right genetics that will allow its children to thrive. Like annual plants with tremendous growth potential including pumpkins and tomatoes, growing conditions can substantially affect whether the plants reach their potential and the quality of the harvested crop, if any.
Similar to big cats, speciation is hard. Just like any big cat can fuck another big cat with a good chance of producing viable offspring, so goes cannabis. Like the big cats, environmental niches and the tyranny of geography has allowed the natural development of many distinct regional landraces with substantial genetic diversity.
These landraces can largely be sorted into three phenotypes, two of which have day length dependent flowering cycles.
- Sativa type plants have the largest naturalized range covering the Americas, Africa, and much of Asia. Generally tall with thin leaves, these varietes dominate plantations from Mexico through Paraguay all the way to Uruguay. The length of time these plants spend flowing tends to be especially long, especially long in equitorial varieties. The long flowering times are why seeds from Latino plantation weed aren't going to yield a useful crop in Ohio. By the time days are short enough for them to go into flowing mode temperatures are rearing up to dive into the shitter.
- Indica type plants are shorter, bushier, more cold and shade tolerant plants traditionaly cultivated for sticky hashish production in Southwest Asia. Their smaller size allowed indoor cultivation in locations not specifically built around housing 2-5 meter tall fiber beasts. The flowering cycle of these varieties is also tied to day length though the length of the flowering period tends to be shorter.
- Ruderalis type plants are still smaller and more cold tolerant guys who naturally hang around the caucasus. Not particularly intoxicating in their wild form, ruderalis plants reservoir of desirable genetics including a recessive autoflowing gene and other traits that enhance environmental robustness. The landrace which produces dry hashish in Morocco manages to have a number of ruderalis sugestive traits including autoflowering and dwarfism while still managing to be intoxicating... and substantially seperated from the caucasus by geography.
From these diverse pools of genetic stock hybridization and selective breeding have created a number of varieties with wildly differing combinations of traits from gigantic high yeilding autoflowers to a variety called "Alaskan Thunder Fuck" on account of having been cultivated and developed in Alaska.
Pharmacology of Cannabis
Cannabis can have a wide range of effects from speedy head highs to profound sedation, and these effects may present in various combinations with varying levels of self perception of intoxication. While language police will typically single out THC as the single major "psychoactive" component, other compounds like the tranquilizer CBN are clearly psychoactive in their effects, per the definitions of the effects themselves yet... language and rules wank creates congnitive dissonance. At present a substantial fountain of popular wank is on how aromatic terpenes which can lend the flowers a variety of scents and flavors modulate the experience of cannabis intoxication which being careful to never attach the word "psychoactive" to the terpenes.
Subtle to profound effects on memory creation and retention during and after cannabis intoxication are of greatest anthropological and cultural interest.
Cannabis may be propagated by seeds or cloned via cuttings. In the case of autoflowering plants, they must be propagated by seed. Some photoperiod cultivars are propagated only via cloning.
A cannabis plant will be of either one of two genders. As the primary desired crop from cannabis plants is female flowers, preferably unfertilized, male plants are usually only of interest for breeding. Under a number of stress conditions, female plants can develop male sex organs and fertilize themselves and other female plants. The resulting seeds will be guarenteed to grow female plants, though the type of stress inducing hermaphrodism may predisponse the children to more readily sex themselves weird. The stress threshold for triggering hermaphrodism varies substantially between cultivars, Thai cultivars are notorious for reliably growing male parts late in flowering if unfertilized earlier.
Seed cultivars enjoy world wide distribution and many clone only cultivars have spread to multiple continents in a testament to the success of the drug on wars. There are a number of established breeders distributing a wide variety of cultivars which grow true to advertised type. There are also a number of sloppy operations crossing established cultivars, and distributing their creatively named by less predictable wares.
Many reputable breeders have been in continuous operation since the 1970's and 1980's when the drug wars first started heating up.
The bar for cultivating cannabis for smoking is lower than that for cultivating tomatoes for eating. Like tomatoes, the potential end product and it's growth to there is going to depend on genetics. As established in the section on cultivation this is a solved problem. Quality genetics for numerous cultivars can be acquired in Uruguay be going to a grow shop with imported seeds from an established breeder and paying 200-450 pesos per feminized autoflowering seed depending on variety, breeder, and grow shop. Seeds for the satavia type cultivar grown and exported from Paraguay3 can readily be found in limited quantities pressed cannabis exported from that country, but efforts to grow plants of that type to a similar or greater quality requires a similar plantation effort.
Live plants yet to flower can also be acquired from grow shops and the Sunday street market ferias.
Cannabis can be cultivated indoors or outdoors. While photoperiod varieties of cannabis are generally considered to have a greater maximum potential for intoxicant content, the details can sufficiently influence the end product to the extent that autoflowering varieties can produce a higher quality end product in many cultivation situations. These situations include urban outdoor grows where nighttime light pollution can not be completely controlled without effort and the situation where and idiot with a plant playing god over his charge's artificial sun does not completely optimize the switch from vegatative growth to flowering growth in harmony with the rest of the plant's growing conditions.
Numerous cultivators in Uruguay, licensed and unlicensed, manage to produce cannabis of varying quality. At the bottom are efforts to cultivate found Paraguayo seeds and at the top there is a limited amount of world class product. The middle is wide and sparsley populated. Contracted growers of government weed for pharmacy distribution produce four cultivars. Alpha 1 and 2 are indica type cultivars, while Beta 1 and 2 are sativa type cultivars.
High Times magazine, back when it was cool, was built on spreading cultivation knowledge and providing advertising space to seed vendors with the aim that it would help achieve legalization as cannabis production became far too widespread to surpress. As they succeeded, the cool is gone and they have moved onto full blown Conde Nast type advertorial wank.
Persons interested in cultivating their own cannabis are advised to pick up seeds for an autoflowering variety, throwing them in an appropriately sized containers for their final size, and growing them exactly like a container tomato down to light calcium supplementation. Water smart allowing for the pot to wet/dry cycle when the plant grows into it and feed the thing lighly as though you have to worry about delicate tomato skin cracking. Cut back on the nitrogen once it starts flowering, and stop all fertilizing before harvest.4 Let it take in the actual sun. As with all new horticultural adventures, avoid the tempation to fuck with a plant you haven't personally shepherded through a full lifecycle yet. Congratulations! You have become a solid 90th pecentile B+/A- cannabis grower while observing the plant's whole lifecycle.
Whether indoor cultivation should be considered boils down to the exact same formula versus the price of electricity that Bitcoin mining does. Reddit can be mined for many example of persons cooking their plants with heat emitted by their light fixture while at the same time not delivering enough light for healthy growth. This happens even though detailed instructions for indoor growing setups at any scale are freely available on the internet along with growing logs
Training, pruning, and all sorts of other normal cultivation techniques can be applied to cannabis for higher yields when correctly applied. Photoperiod plants tend to be more forgiving to train as their vegatative period can always be extended if they need more time to recover. Autoflowering varietes run on a strict internal clock with substantial potential for tears if aggressively trained and cut.
También, all manner of unnatural and toxic plant growth regulators can be applied to improve the visual appearance of the flowers according to community standards. Similarly while some cultivars naturally produce fruity smells and tastes, these too can be doctored into the crop. Throw in some plant hormones, and this loose community managed to invent their own Monsanto.
Harvesting And Storage
The timing of a cannabis harvest will affect the portions of psychoactive compounds in the end product. Exposure of harvested product to light, heat, oxygen, and moisture will affect the psycoactive contents of the product. The highest concentration of psychoactive compounds will be in trichomes produced in greatest number on and near the flower buds. Substantial compounds will be present in the buds themselves, but given the ease of cultivation many societies will traditionally produce hashish from the trichomes without need for bothering with the extra bulk in storing plant material from the buds themselves. Leaf material with a visible accululation of trichromes may be productively dried and sifted for hashish production.
In cultures that consume whole flowers, traditionally the flowers are pressed for greater shelf life and ease of handling. While it may currently be fashionable to prefer unpressed dry flowers, they suffer from a drastically reduced shelf life and they will shed trichomes any time they are handled. This limits fashionably unpressed flowers to a largely marginal role analagous to seasonal local produce at a farmer's market that loses substantial value with time and transit. Storage in a cool, dark, humidity controlled environment can help to preserve the quality of product.
A number of extracts and concentrated cannabis products including butane and alcohol solvent extracts. Equipment for producing hot pressed resin from whole flowers is ubiquitous in grow shops located in Uruguay, but sales of the equipment appears to be low.
The psychoactive components of cannabis are unavailable via the oral route of administration, but heat treatment can decarboxylate THC allowing for the production of edible products.
By a large margin the most popular method of cannabis consumption in Uruguay is hand rolled joints, followed distantly by edible products, with other methods of consumption trailing sufficiently to the point of being statistically insignificant. Rolling papers of varying qualities are available at every kiosko, with the most common and default option being a brand of orange colored papers suffering a profound poverty of adhesive. Some kioskos carry a wider variety of papers than others, but every kioski will have the standard orange papers. Growshops tend to carry a wide variety and large inventory of international brand rolling papers.
In spite of the frequency with which the practice of rolling joints is carried out, skill in rolling remains rare
Pipes and bongs of many types and materials are prominently displayed in stores. A complete absence of the classic "dugout" type one hitter and wooden stash box combo from the market in Uruguay at any price point is notable.
Edible baked goods are sold in the Sunday market ferias, though in recent weeks the number of vendors doing so has contracted. Products for topical application with a pharmokinetic profile that impedes the possibility of intoxication are widely available.
Imported brand name vaporizers are advertised at higher than the typical markup for imported goods
Marijuana legalization has three primary population level effects.
- Outright legalization robs cannabis of its outlaw, rebel cool factor. Visitors from places where cannabis isn't legal get to enjoy a novelty in smoking openly in public around cops, but for residents it simply becomes an alt-beer less likely to get you into acute danger when overconsumed. It settles into being just another vice that happens to have even less "stick it to the man" cred than other vices.
- Marijuana legalization substantially hinders left wing activism. Many personality traits and situations that draw bipeds to frequent cannabis consumption also draw those same bipeds to pantsuitism and socialism. The would be activist free to wake and bake every day has a substantial amount of idle time which could have went to activism instead harmless tossed out in a haze. Similarly, the idea that a left wing Hussein Bahamas just might be talking about marijuana when he says "Hope and Change" without further specification is a major draw to leftist inclined bipeds. Upon getting blessing to gay marry their reefer, they get the feeling they have arrived and the threshold necessary for pantsuits to engage them raises. In combination with socially approved habitual intoxication, everything seems less urgent since they can smoke and feel good. While they might sympathize with tranny reparations or any other cause, they are incapable of becoming passionate about anything that hasn't already knocked them out of homeostasis.
- Consumption of marijuana promotes the development and belief in false memories. The social engineering potential for this is tremendous, which is likely why Pantsuit pushes normalizing marijuana consumption. The effect on activism in the previous point is likely why Pantsuit is cautious in actually legalizing cannabis.
In short marginal bipeds become even more marginal while tourists have another recreation option.
- From Ircca, the Cannabis Agency. [↩]
- As of this writing the USD runs roughly 32 Pesos Uruguayos [↩]
- The regional perspective is that Paraguay is the likely largest producer of cannabis in the world with a climate and soils well suited to growing their giant sativa type plants. Paraguay is credited with keeping Brasil, Argentina, and the rest of the region supplied with smoke.
Another thing to note is that cannabis use and possession of up to 10 grams is allowed and legalisation proposals in Paraguay typically consider plant counts above 100 to be reasonable for a person's personal growing. This is in contrast to other fiat jurisdictions that limit personal mature plant counts to the single digits. [↩]
- To be clear we are talking about determinate cultivars of tomatoes here, the ones that flower and fruit in one go. We aren't talking about indeterminate monsters that keep producing new flowers and tomatoes until they die. [↩]