Seriously… Uruguay? I have never been there, but on my personal list of countries that i would expect to become the first country to completely legalize cannabis and start selling it to their people, Uruguay was not even on there… But as it seems, the government of Uruguay is going to be the first, of hopefully many, growing and selling cannabis for their people. Finally, a state has the courage to do the right thing! In Wiki it said that for a while already that the consumption of Cannabis is legal and not criminalized and it is illegal to possess cannabis if less than 25 grams. In fact Uruguay is one of the few countries that never criminalized the possession of any drugs for personal use.
Since 1974, the law establishes no quantity limits, leaving it to the judge’s discretion to determine whether the intent was personal use. There are no sanctions at all once it is determined by the judge that the amount in possession was meant for personal use. Planting cannabis and dealing though, have always been considered crimes. But now, it will be the government controlling the production, distribution and commercialization of marijuana! Just like with the new law in the Netherlands, cannabis will only be sold to local people and these local people need to be registered in a database to be able to buy their beloved herb. This way the government wants to avoid becoming the new place to go for pot-smoking tourists as Uruguay with its beautiful beach resorts is a popular destination for Argentines people from neighboring Brazil. The cannabis will be sold by private businesses that will be monitored by the government and of course it will be taxed like tobacco and alcohol. This tax money will be used to fund different rehabilitation programs for addicts throughout the country. At the Summit of the Americas in Cartega last April (Where if you remember there was also a big prostitution scandal involving US Secret service members), Obama has made clear to the Latin American leaders that he strongly opposes the legalization of any drugs, including marijuana. But it seems that José Mujica, the president of Uruguay, has his own agenda and opinion as in an interview with a Brazilian newspaper he reassured the good intentions of the new plan; “Uruguay is not proposing a legalization that allows anybody to go to a shop and buy the amount of marijuana that he likes. The state will control quality, quantity and price. And if somebody buys 20 marijuana cigarettes, he will have to smoke them. He won’t be able to sell them.” In South America there has been a tremendous amount of problems with drug-related crime in the last few decades and the government of Uruguay thinks that legalization of cannabis is a step in the right direction. Prohibition has only led to trafficking and more consumption of drugs like cocaine and with the legalization they hope to convince cocaine addicts to choose for marijuana instead as cannabis is recognized to be way less harmful and addictive. Uruguay has announced that it is planning to lobby for the legalization of marijuana in the rest of South America as well, but will they manage to control this new way of dealing with cannabis themselves? Some doubt it, but if they do then even countries like the Netherlands can learn a thing or two from Uruguay.