Uruguay OKs 1st national market for legal pot
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — The nation's senate gave final congressional approval on Tuesday to establish the world's first national marketplace for legal marijuana, an audacious experiment in which the government will oversee production, sales and consumption of a drug illegal almost everywhere else.
The vote was 16 to 13, with the governing Broad Front majority in favor. The plan awaits the signature of President Jose Mujica, who wants the market to begin operating next year.
Two-thirds of Uruguayans oppose a government-run marijuana industry, according to opinion polls. But Mujica said he's convinced the global drug war is a failure and believes bureaucrats can do a better job of containing addictions and beating organized crime than police, soldiers and prison guards.
“Today is an historic day. Many countries of Latin America, and many governments, will take this law as an example,” cheered Sen. Constanza Moreira, voting with the Broad Front majority.
Uruguay's drug control agency will have 120 days, until mid-April, to draft regulations imposing state control over the entire market for marijuana, from seed to smoke.
Everyone involved must be licensed and registered, with government monitors enforcing limits such as the 40 grams a month any adult will be able to buy at pharmacies for any reason or the six marijuana plants that license-holders will be allowed to grow at home.
Congress' lower house approved the bill in late July, and senators rejected all proposed amendments, enforcing party discipline before the debate to assure the outcome.
Former Health Minister Alfredo Solari, a Colorado Party senator, warned on Tuesday that children and adolescents will more easily get their hands on pot and that “the effects of this policy on public health will be terrible.”
But Sen. Roberto Conde, a former deputy foreign minister with the Broad Front, said marijuana “is already established in Uruguay. It's a drug that is already seen as very low risk and enormously easy to get.”
Mujica, a 78-year-old former leftist guerrilla who spent years in jail while many others experimented with marijuana, said the goal is to reduce drug use.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Afghan charity hospital bombed; Defense Secretary Carter vows full investigation
- Russia’s military touts partial victory in Syria
- With end of sanctions in sight, Iran invites foreign investment in oil fields
- 9 die after international charity’s Afghanistan clinic bombed
- Why Russia’s Syria war is bad news for the United States (and why it isn’t)
- Israel ready to resume peace talks with Palestinians, Netanyahu says
- 10 aboard U.S. aircraft killed in crash in Afghanistan
- France tells Russia to target Islamic State militants, not rebels in Syria
- Hurricane Joaquin slams Bahamas; ship missing in storm
- Landslide wreckage yields more bodies in Guatemala
- Portuguese austerity measures unlikely to hurt continued dominance of moderates in vote