Uruguay Legalizes Marijuana Trade

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Today is a historic day for the potential global expansion of legalizing marijuana as a trade. While the majority of the United States think that the use of marijuana should be legal, another country is considering legalizing other components of the marijuana trade beyond consumption. Uruguay is poised to become the first country to fully legalize the trade involving growing, producing, selling, and consuming the drug. President Jose Mujica must still sign the bill before being accepted as a law. However, Mujica's previous support of the bill leaves little doubt that he will sign. Senator Lucía Topolansky, who is the first lady of Uruguay, spoke about upcoming concerns in a recent interview with Reuters. "We begin a new experience in April. It involves a big cultural change that focuses on public health and the fight against drug trafficking," Topolansky said.

According to Senator Roberto Conde of Uruguay's Broad Front coalition, "It is understood that a regulation-based policy has positive consequences for health and public security, given that, on the one hand, it can produce better results when it comes to education, prevention, information, treatment and rehabilitation in relation to the problematic uses of drugs. On the other hand, it helps fight drug trafficking, which fuels organized crime and criminal activities that affect the security of the population."

Public opinion has not been supportive. A recent poll compiled by Equipos Consultores, claims that 58 percent of the Uruguay's 3.3 million population opposes the legalization of cannabis. Uruguayan residents who are at least 18 will now be able to purchase 40 grams every month from a licensed pharmacy. Uruguayan citizens will also be able to grow 6 plants (480 grams) each year in the privacy of their own homes. These residents will also be permitted to form groups for growing pot; however, restrictions limit the group number from 15 to 45 people where the total amount of plants grown cannot exceed 99 plants per year.

Senator Alfredo Solari of the Colorado Party spoke about his concerns for the implementation of the bill. "This bill, which proposes an experiment in social engineering, as it was described in the public health commission, does not comply with any of the ethical safeguards of experimentation with human beings. Those safeguards are extremely important given that we're talking about marijuana, a substance that harms human beings." Solari said before adding, "It's a very bad piece of legislation, mainly because it increases the availability of marijuana in the market."

[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]

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