Uruguay May Be First Country to Legalize Pot
President of Uruguay José Mujica has drafted a billthat would allow the government to sell pot in Uruguay, where possession and use are already legal. The government would regulate the quality of pot, and sell it to adults cataloged in a registry. Each person would be allowed to purchase 40 joints per month.
The bill aims to decrease violence associated with marijuana trafficking, and to separate the markets of marijuana and hard drugs, namely coca-paste. By removing pot from the black market, Uruguay would isolate weed smokers from dealers who may offer them more dangerous substances. The legislation also indicates that tax dollars from pot sales would finance addiction treatment.
"We believe that the prohibition of certain drugs is creating more problems for society than the drugs themselves... with disastrous consequences," Defense Minister Fernandez Huidobro said during the bill's presentation.
As NORML points out, safety and addiction treatment are not the only benefits of legalizing pot. Should Uruguay allow tourists to purchase marijuana, it could challenge Amsterdam (now considering selling to inhabitants-only) as the pot-tourism capital of the world. What's more, legalization would make room for researching weed's medical benefits, as well as the commercialization of industrial hemp. Uruguay could become the leading nation in marijuana law reform, and the likely positive outcome would send a message to world leaders nationwide.