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Uruguay Becomes First Country To Legalize Marijuana Trade

The General

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Uruguay became the first country to legalize the growing, sale and smoking of marijuana on Tuesday, a pioneering social experiment that will be closely watched by other nations debating drug liberalization. A government-sponsored bill approved by 16-13 votes in the Senate provides for regulation of the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana and is aimed at wresting the business from criminals in the small South American nation.

Backers of the law, some smoking joints, gathered near Congress holding green balloons, Jamaican flags in homage to Bob Marley and a sign saying: "Cultivating freedom, Uruguay grows." Cannabis consumers will be able to buy a maximum of 40 grams (1.4 ounces) 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. When the law is implemented in 120 days, Uruguayans will be able 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.

Registered drug users should be able to start buying marijuana over the counter from licensed pharmacies in April. "We begin a new experience in April. It involves a big cultural change that focuses on public health and the fight against drug trafficking," Uruguay's first lady, Senator Lucía Topolansky, told Reuters. Uruguay's attempt to quell drug trafficking is being followed closely in Latin America where the legalization of some narcotics is being increasingly seen by regional leaders as a possible way to end the violence spawned by the cocaine trade.

Rich countries debating legalization of pot are also watching the bill, which philanthropist George Soros has supported as an "experiment" that could provide an alternative to the failed U.S.-led policies of the long "war on drugs." The bill gives authorities 120 days to set up a drug control board that will regulate cultivation standards, fix the price and monitor consumption. The use of marijuana is legal in Uruguay, a country of 3.3 million that is one of the most liberal in Latin America, but cultivation and sale of the drug are not. Other countries have decriminalized marijuana possession and the Netherlands allows its sale in coffee shops, but Uruguay will be the first nation to legalize the whole chain from growing the plant to buying and selling its leaves.

Several countries such as Canada, the Netherlands and Israel have legal programs for growing medical cannabis but do not allow cultivation of marijuana for recreational use. Last year, the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington passed ballot initiatives that legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana. Uruguay's leftist president, Jose Mujica, defends his initiative as a bid to regulate and tax a market that already exists but is run by criminals. "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," the 78-year-old former guerrilla fighter told Argentine news agency Telam.

Uruguay is one of the safest Latin American countries with little of the drug violence or other violence seen in countries such as Colombia and Mexico. Yet one-third of Uruguay's prison inmates are serving time on charges related to narcotics trafficking that has turned Uruguay into a transit route for Paraguayan marijuana and Bolivian cocaine.

Even though it is set to clear the Senate, the legislation faces fierce opposition from conservatives and Mujica has yet to convince a majority of Uruguayans that it is a good idea. According to a recent opinion poll by Equipos Consultores, 58 percent of Uruguayans oppose legalizing pot, although that is down from 68 percent in a previous survey in June. Critics say legalization will not only increase consumption but open the door to the use of harder drugs than marijuana, which according to government statistics is used by 8 percent of Uruguayans on a regular basis.

"Competing with drug traffickers by offering marijuana at a lower price will just increase the market for a drug that has negative effects on public health," said Senator Alfredo Solari of the conservative Colorado Party. If it works, the legislation is expected to fuel momentum for wider legalization of marijuana elsewhere, including the United States and in Europe. Decriminalization of all drug possession by Portugal in 2001 is held up as a success for reducing drug violence while not increasing drug use.

"This development in Uruguay is of historic significance," said Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the Drug Policy Alliance, a leading sponsor of drug policy reform partially funded by Soros through his Open Society Foundation. "Uruguay is presenting an innovative model for cannabis that will better protect public health and public safety than does the prohibitionist approach," Nadelmann said.


News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Trust.org
Author: Anthony Boadle
Contact: Thomson Reuters Foundation | News, Information and Connections for Action
Website: Uruguay becomes first country to legalize marijuana trade

420 Motoco

Member of the Month: October 2014 - Member of the Year: 2014
Yup...might as well reap the benefits than the Cartel. Check out how much comes in the U.S. from down south (least what is reported). U.S. should do the same and keep it in-house.


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Hey to All who follow, the simple fact that they allow 6 plants per household is all that is needed. If you don't agree or want no part of it, cool. Live your life by your own rules. If you do need for medical use or just use it as a stress reliever or while your crank out to tunes. This amount will remove most all criminal elements and most other trouble that accompanies it. The "underground" elements are removed, still there will be the need for buffer zones. If you live near a school zone or if minors live on that property. If your company is a drug free work place// bus drivers public transport. Commercial airline pilots can get falling down drunk, but must stop or have no alcohol for 24 hours to fly a plane. What we as people have lost through greed and stupidity that this plant, a gift from what ever God you bow to. It has so much more to offer then just a buzz, I don't smoke as much as I use to. Especially with the feminized strains running in the 20% and better, how much do you need?? Plus the CBN`s and other extracts that can be produced from its resins and ester`s is where it`s medical benifits will and are found. When they band it in 1937 they were only after the male plants and it was the textile aspects of it useful ness the money barons feared. It was a larger cash crop in the US economy then corn!! Its potential and ease in producing "jeopardized" the profits of those who were steering this country. I can get use to watching soccer instead of football and unlike Canada. The "snow" down there is not COLD!! Peace to all and would love to see this GIFT be given the attention it has to offer.


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