Dispatches, Southern Cone, Uruguay

Uruguay’s Marijuana Bill Provokes Mixed Reactions

July 10, 2012 By Mariana Bueno

MONTEVIDEO — Uruguayan President José Mujica’s controversial marijuana regulation bill could soon be approved by Congress, making Uruguay the first country in the world to directly produce, sell, and control the consumption of marijuana.

The proposal for state-regulated marijuana is part of a package of sixteen different measures designed to fight violence and public insecurity in Uruguay. Possession and consumption of marijuana for personal use is not currently penalized in Uruguay, but commercialization is.

If the bill is successful, the nation of just over 3 million people could serve as a model for other countries in the region seeking alternatives to a costly, decades-long drug war. But first, Mujica must convince Uruguayans themselves that the measure makes sense.

Uruguayans are divided on the controversial cannabis issue. Last month, an Interconsult survey showed that 38 percent of Uruguayans supported state regulation of the marijuana trade and 60 percent were opposed, with those over the age of 63 more likely to disapprove of the measure. According to the survey, less educated Uruguayans were also more likely to be against the measure.

In a telephone interview last Thursday with Radio Cadena Nacional (RCN) of Colombia, Mujica explained how the government should handle the sale of marijuana to registered consumers.  He acknowledged that the drug problem in Uruguay is small in comparison to other countries in the region, but he wants to convince the Uruguayan majority to favor the legalization of marijuana.

“We are more concerned about drug trafficking than the drug itself,” said Mujica, who classified marijuana use as a “social vice” comparable to the consumption of alcohol. “While vices are medical problems, the other is an insoluble police problem.”


At least on this globe there is one country who understand needs of their own people. I’m glad for Uruguay.

Coinspinner says:

“Drug Tourism” has a simpler name: “Tourism”.

kevin says:

I don’t have a “mixed reaction”. I agree with the proposal 100%. Latin American countries are starting to realize that the U.S. should not dictate drug policy for them. Drug prohibition in the U.S. is directly responsible for thousands of deaths in Latin America each year.

Jose says:

Bunch of blah blah blah. The United Nations will send their mercenary security forces to squash any real legalization. Maybe they will allow some so-called decriminalization and ensure that only criminals can provide marijuana.

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