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Uruguay to Begin Debate on Legal Marijuana Sales

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #777)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

Last fall, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica proposed legalizing marijuana commerce and cultivation (marijuana possession has never been a crime there), but shortly thereafter postponed action on the proposed legislation in the face of public opposition. Now he's ready for the country to have a discussion about it.

In December, Mujica postponed action on the bill, even though his party and its allies control the legislature. He cited polling that showed 64% of the public had reservations about allowing pot sales and cultivation.

Mujica continues to support the bill, but wanted to slow the process down to educate the public. Now, that process is beginning. Starting on April 4, a nationwide dialog on the bill is set to get underway. The three-month public debate will feature round tables, seminars, and conferences across the country and, Mujica hopes, bring public opinion around.

Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla in the 1970s, has argued that legalizing the commerce in marijuana would weaken drug smuggling gangs and fight petty crime. Uruguay is one of the safest Latin American nations, but has been scarred by criminal violence associated with the drug trade.

The bill would create a National Cannabis Institute to regulate commercial marijuana production and distribution. But unlike reports from last fall, it will not create state marijuana stores. The Institute would also come up with penalties for rule-breakers and help design programs to warn of the risks of pot smoking. For private households, the bill would allow the cultivation of up to six plants and the possession of up to 17 ounces.

If the bill becomes law, Uruguay would become the first country to formally legalize marijuana commerce. Such commerce had gone on in Holland for decades, with the laws against it still on the books, but ignored under the Dutch policy of "pragmatic tolerance." Other countries have decriminalized marijuana possession, but not the commerce.

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mexweeds (not verified)

An article last summer suggested Mujica was supporting a plan for providing users with marijuana cigarettes-- I hope this will be reconsidered.  Uruguay has made headway in reducing cigarette smoking, with strong anti-indoor-smoking laws, but some of that is presented as an anti-tobacco issue, whereas not tobacco or cannabis but "smoking"-- hot burning overdose monoxide $igarettes-- is the issue. 

Uruguay has the economic stature to promote vaporizing-- plug-ins, e-cigs, and the art or technique* of VAPING WITH A ONE-HITTER which (everyone doesn't know yet) has a screened receptacle small enough for 25-mg servings as opposed to "traditional" 500-mg joints or 700-mg (most commercial brand) $igarettes.  A one-hitter provides Regulation and Control built into the actual utensil used rather than by fussy laws.  A One-Hit Head Shop industry (cheap little pipes, but no rolling papers) could provide an innovative, challenging tourist/export industry for the national economy.


*Use sifted herb, no stems, seeds, clunkers.  Add a long flexible drawtube (hookah hose without hookah) so you can hold the head far enough away to see what you're doing during lighting.  Hold lighter flame at least an inch below utensil opening so only heat, not flame reaches your load of herb, while sucking steadily.  Use a breathbonnet (lunchbag etc.) to reinhale several times to get all the vitamin. 

Mon, 03/25/2013 - 9:55pm Permalink
p burger Clear… (not verified)

Hats of to Jose Mujica. He keeps on going from strength to strength. His liberal values should be prime example of a modern society. Let's spread the word and realise the war on drugs has failed. Time to realise the potential of a free market in the cannabis trade. It is such a versatile plant. Not a drug.
Tue, 03/26/2013 - 9:53am Permalink
Laila (not verified)

I remember a story about a US seed co. devastating a village in Uruguay by dumping hundreds of tons of pesticide treated seeds. No that was Paraguay. Horrible story.

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 5:19am Permalink

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