Uruguay: A Marketplace for Marijuana?

Uruguay has moved one step closer to becoming the first country to have a legal, government regulated marijuana industry — but the president warns “stoner tourists” shouldn’t light up in celebration just yet. Fifty members of Uruguay’s lower house of Congress voted in favor creating a government entity — the National Cannabis Institutem late last Wednesday, which would monitor the cultivation and sales of marijuana. Forty-six members voted against the bill.

The bill is heavily backed by Uruguay’s leftist president, Jose Mujica, who insists that Uruguay would not become a tourism destination for pot smokers. “No one should think implementing this law would create disorder or encourage consumption,” he said.

Under the bill, Uruguayan households would be allowed to grow up to six plants (about 17 ounces) annually. Regulated public smoking clubs would be permitted to grow 90 plants (15.8 pounds) each year. Currently, residents of Uruguay are permitted to smoke marijuana, but they cannot grow it or sell it.  This is contradictory and promotes crime, drug-smuggling and “a monopoly of the mafia,” according to Mujica, who ironically has never “smoked a joint”.

According to polls, 63 percent of Uruguayans actually oppose the proposal to legalize the growth and distribution of the drug. Critics believe legalizing marijuana further might serve as a gateway for citizens to use harder drugs. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the U.S. Drug Policy Alliance, said, “Sometimes small countries do great things. Uruguay’s bold move … provides a model for legally regulating marijuana that other countries, and U.S. states, will want to consider — and a precedent that will embolden others to follow in their footsteps.”

What do you think about this bill? Will it cause corruption? Will it lead to more drug use? Does allowing residents in Uruguay to simply grow marijuana going to make a difference considering they are already allowed to smoke it? Do you think this will start a trend for other small countries, or even larger ones, like the U.S.?

Article and Picture Source: NBC.com



  1. Something else to be considered are the international law implications. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is an independent organization tasked to maintain United Nations international drug control conventions. It urged Uruguayan authorities to fully comply with international law when considering this new endeavor. Many question this new law’s ability to stand against international control treaties, such as the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated that it would continue to monitor this situation closely in order to determine if Uruguay’s path would violate global drug control protocols. For more information: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45544&Cr=drugs&Cr1=#.UgFdK-D5K0s

  2. I believe that this bill is quite progressive and shows a lot more forward thinking in regards to drug policy. It’s no secret that the public is greatly misinformed about drugs and their actual harm, or lack thereof, of certain drugs. Governments fill their countries with propaganda disparaging drugs, claiming that they will cause irreparable harm to their nation and promote crime, when this is not true at all.
    Aside from the issue of whether or not certain drugs are good or bad for you, the ban on drugs has wasted a lot of time and money of leading governments, namely the United States. The DEA, the war on drugs and the harassment of people who are occasional users and do not smuggle or promote the criminality involved in smuggling is just a complete and utter waste on government money. There needs to be more proactive changes in legislation that can control use and have the drug accessible in safe ways.
    All in all prohibition does not work, which should be obvious from alcohol prohibition in the early 20th century, but it seems everyone likes to ignore alcohol prohibition and how it effectively created an avenue for organized crime.

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