The peals of freedom will continue to reverberate in Uruguyan stoners' ears: Last week's presidential election in the South American pot paradise all but ensures that the country will create "the world's first state-run marijuana marketplace," according to NBC News.
Uruguay legalized marijuana in 2012 under the direction of President Jose Mujica. Designed to undermine drug traffickers who, by some accounts, were growing in power in the country, the move was unpopular with citizens.
Mujica made it legal to grow marijuana at home or through a registered club and, perhaps more revolutionary, to purchase marijuana grown by the government through a pharmacy.
That cultivation and distribution plan, which is still being ironed out, was challenged by one of Uruguay's more conservative presidential hopefuls. But on Sunday, the nation's previously anti-legalization populace voted 53 percent to 40 percent to elect Tabare Vazquez, who acted as the nation's president from 2005 to 2010. Vazquez is expected to continue Uruguay's marijuana marketplace program.
Legalization is affecting the international drug trade, as Mexico's rural marijuana farmers are finding it more and more difficicult to make a living.
A grower in the hills of the Sinaloa state ("Mexico's marijuana heartland") told an NPR reporter that prices have dropped by around 50 percent in the last several years. Previously, the unidentified cultivator said he could get $60 to $90 per kilo (2.2 pounds), but nowadays could only fetch $30 to $40 a kilo.
The plummeting price reflects a growing desire for pot grown in the U.S.A. — most notably among Americans, where it's becoming easier to get with spreading legalization, but also among Mexican buyers.
"We know the cartels are already smuggling cash into Mexico," a DEA spokesman told NPR. "If you can buy some really high-quality weed [in the U.S.], why not smuggle it south, too, and sell it at a premium?"
What will happen with Mexico's small marijuana farmers? The NPR interviewee said he'll likely turn to opium poppies.
Cross your fingers and blow. Washington state students and faculty are developing a breathalyzer test for THC. Currently, people suspected of doped driving are subject to blood tests. About a quarter of those came back positive in Washington State in 2013, according to the Seattle Times, but the results aren't immediately available to arresting officers.
While Washington does have a legal threshold of blood-THC level to determine impairment, it's unlikely that the breathalyzer under development will be able to detect a specific level of weed influence. The device will simply detect the presence of THC, which "could prove helpful to officers as they decide whether to arrest a suspected impaired driver," according to a Washington State University chemistry professor in charge of the project.
And your week in head-scratching headlines, both courtesy MSN:
3 LA Deputies Recovering After Entering Small Marijuana Farm (they were "overcome by fumes").
The Kardashians put Dave Grohl off marijuana (he was overcome by asininity).