Uruguay becomes first country to legalize marijuana trade!

Uruguay has become the first nation to legalize the growing, sale, and smoking of marijuana after the country's Senate gave its final approval by 16 of 29 votes in favour of the legislation.


Yes, you read it right. Uruguay has become the first nation to legalize the growing, sale and smoking of marijuana after the country’s Senate gave its final approval by 16 of 29 votes in favour of the legislation.

The legislation allows cannabis consumers to buy a maximum of 40 grams each month from licensed pharmacies as long as they are Uruguayan residents over the age of 18 and registered on a government database that will monitor their monthly purchases. The bill gives authorities 120 days to set up a drug control board that will regulate cultivation standards, fix the price and monitor consumption. Registered drug users should be able to start buying marijuana over the counter from licensed pharmacies in April 2014.

Furthermore, when the law is implemented in 120 days, Uruguayans will be allowed to grow six marijuana plants in their homes a year, or as much as 480 grams (about 17 ounces), and form smoking clubs of 15 to 45 members that can grow up to 99 plants per year.

While drugs are widely accepted as a curse on modern society, a way of destruction of youth, a strong cause of crime, a threat to law & order and an ultimate bar to the national development and prosperity; for which law enforcement agencies declared a war against the use, trade and traffic of drugs. Nevertheless, it remained a profitable business of billions of dollars, and a real threat to both legislature and enforcement agencies.

By allowing the trade, Uruguay government hopes to tackle drug cartels by bringing the trade within a legal framework and remove the marijuana trade from the domain of illegal traffickers, allowing the authorities to regulate its consumption, as President Jose Mujica said supporting the law “we’ve given this market as a gift to the drug traffickers and that is more destructive socially than the drug itself because it rots the whole of society.”

However, critics argue that such measures will expose more people to drugs and ultimately the regulation will create further difficulties. The opposition senate member Alfredo Solari said that Uruguay should not “experiment” on its people.

While the bill was in the lower house, It had also drawn international criticism. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warned the law would “be in complete contravention to the provisions of the international drug treaties to which Uruguay is a party”.

While Uruguay is the first to allow the trade, some other countries have decriminalized marijuana possession like the Netherlands allows its sale in coffee shops. Canada, the Netherlands and Israel have legal programs for growing medical cannabis but do not allow the cultivation of marijuana for recreational use. Last year, the US states of Colorado and Washington passed ballot initiatives that legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana.

Source: Reuters