Fighting Against Richard Nixon’s Drug War Now a Part of Uruguay’s Foreign Policy as Government Moves Towards Being Monopoly Supplier of Marijuana Domestically

The government of Uruguay is moving one step closer to normalizing marijuana in their society, sort of. Uruguay never criminalized the possession or personal use of marijuana, focusing instead on medium to large-scale drug trafficking. Now, the government wants to become the sole distributor of marijuana in the country. Soon enough, Uruguay’s pot-smokers may be paying dank prices for schwag. Details of the plan, via the Associated Press:

Under the plan backed by President Jose Mujica's leftist administration, only the government would be allowed to sell marijuana and only to adults who register on a government database, letting officials keep track of their purchases over time. Profits would reportedly go toward rehabilitating drug addicts.
"It is a fight on both fronts: against consumption and drug trafficking. We think the prohibition of some drugs is creating more problems to society than the drug itself," Defense Minister Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro told reporters late Wednesday.
Mr. Fernández said the bill would soon be sent to Congress, which is dominated by President Mujica's party, but that an exact date had not been set. If approved, Uruguay's national government would be the first in the world to directly sell marijuana to its citizens. Some local governments do so.

Apparently the move was spurred by increasing drug violence in the “peaceful” Uruguay as well as Mojica’s dimming popularity. The defense minister also framed the move in the context of Uruguay’s foreign policy. From Fox News Latino:

"We don't want the same thing to happen to us in Uruguay," the defense minister said.
The administration of President Jose Mujica, currently in Brazil for the Rio+20 environmental summit, will "fight (in) all the international forums" for the legalization of marijuana, Fernandez Huidobro said.
The defense minister announced the decision to legalize the psychoactive drug at a press conference, in which he was joined by presidential secretary Alberto Breccia, Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi and Social Development Minister Daniel Olesker.
It will now be "Uruguayan foreign policy" to combat the "prohibition (of consumption) begun in 1971 by the erroneous decision of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, who brought about the current disaster" by "declaring a war that's been won by the narcos," Fernandez Huidobro said.


Reason.TV talked to Uruguay’s Speaker of the House, Luis Alberto, among other politicians, journalists and former drug warriors, at the CATO Institute’s “Ending the War on Drugs” conference last year:

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  • Pip||

    What have you gone with TiggyFoo?

    TIGGY!!!! TIGGY!!!!

  • The Rantin Arkansan||

    Uruguay never criminalized the possession or personal use of marijuana, focusing instead on medium to large-scale drug trafficking.

    So much stupid in that sentence. Who the fuck thought it was a good idea to outlaw the suppliers?

  • SIV||

    Perhaps Uruguay was encouraging a "grow your own" ethos.

  • BarryD||

    Brought to you by the Uruguayan Tourism Federation.

  • SIV||

    Uruguay never criminalized the possession or personal use of marijuana...

    ...only the government would be allowed to sell marijuana and only to adults who register on a government database

    So Uruguay is ramping up the War on Drugs? How progressive of them.

  • BarryD||

    Just as with opposition to gun registration: if you don't plan to criminalize pot, and you don't plan to confiscate it, then WHAT IS THE POINT of registering it?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    "One, Two Three!
    What're we fightin' for?
    Don't know and I don't give a damn.
    We're...alll....um....

    Dude! Don't bogart that!

    Wait.

    What were we doing?

    I'm SOOOOOO WASTED!!!"

    /Uruguayan Stoners

  • SIV||

    "Uruguayan foreign policy" to combat the "prohibition (of consumption) begun in 1971 by the erroneous decision of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, who brought about the current disaster"

    All Nixon's fault

    Muera Nixon!

  • Bernieyeball||

    "It will now be "Uruguayan foreign policy" to combat the "prohibition (of consumption) begun in 1971 by the erroneous decision of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, who brought about the current disaster" by "declaring a war that's been won by the narcos," Fernandez Huidobro said."

    Let us find a branch from a tree which has donated its pulp to paper for a copy of the US Constitution. Let us sharpen the stick to a point and drive it through the heart of number 37 for if we do not he will haunt us to the end of time.

  • Malcolm Kyle||

    The constitution was written on hemp.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Too bad about the creepy database. Otherwise, this would be a big win.

  • ||

    Actually, the database almost makes me think it's actually a back door to quasi-prohibition. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but this almost seems like a way for them to go "hey, buddy, we think you've bought too much dope this month, so we're not selling you any more. Sorry, it's for your health. And you know what? You should report for treatment too."

  • SIV||

    You're not being paranoid. Think of prescription drug databases in the US.

    I could see this happening with tobacco and alcoholic beverages here too. Mandatory ID scans at point of purchase and monitoring consumption.

    Many states now require a database on keg sales so they can "trace" the ones seized at underage beer parties.

  • BarryD||

    Exactly. Why do we have driver's licenses, fishing licenses, occupational licenses, etc.?

    1. REVENUE!
    2. So that the license can be taken away by the government.

    While as a libertarian I am skeptical about it, you can argue that #2 is justified in some cases (driving drunk, poaching, causing great bodily harm in some licensed occupation). But you can't legitimately argue that the purpose of a license ISN'T, fundamentally, to give the government power to take the license away, at its discretion.

  • SIV||

    Not too sure about that. If use and possession were quasi-legal will a government sales model make untaxed weed illegal? What about possession or use without the government license?

    I suppose any WoDs heresy by a government is a good thing but blaming NIXON rather than the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty, UN, WHO and their own law suggest this is purely a political maneuver.

  • Gladstone||

  • Pro Libertate||

    I gave my love a cherry
    Without a stone.
    I gave my love a chicken
    Without a bone.

  • Robert||

    The comments here are from another world. Uruguay's providing legal means to buy sell marijuana, which had no legal source previously, and you're responding as if this was bad news!

    The registry will be valuable evidence to show other countries: See, people can use this much pot annually without ill effect to themselves or to society.

  • JeremyR||

    It depends on how much Uruguay cracks down on other sellers.

    They aren't magically going to go away now that the government is selling pot, and rarely does the government provide the lowest prices or best quality of a product.

  • JeremyR||

    And what about home growers? It's not like it's something difficult to grow - this could be used as a way to crack down on people growing it at home.

  • Robert||

    How could it be used as a way to crack down, when there would be no change in the law re home growing?

  • Robert||

    But other sellers are already illegal! How does providing for a legal seller make anything worse?

    Seriously, it's like nobody here has the sense to evaluate reforms, because they always think there's something bad hidden in anything good.

  • SIV||

    Uruguay never criminalized the possession or personal use of marijuana, focusing instead on medium to large-scale drug trafficking.

    Based on this statement possession,use,and presumably "small scale trafficking" (barter,local produce market?) were unregulated and quasi-legal.

    I don't see how a government monopoly, with mandatory registration and tracking of users, is anything but a huge anti-liberty move.

  • Robert||

    Try reading from the link. Small scale trafficking was never legal. It's just that in recent years, thanks to the influence of drug reform, "in recent years its national drug policies have prioritized the prosecution of medium and large-scale traffickers rather than focusing resources and energy on small-time dealers who are easily replaced."

    A gov't monopoly on sales is a huge advance over the legal zeropoly they've had. And as I wrote, registr'n y tracking of users will supply data that will be used to advance further drug reform in that and other countries. Prohibitionists are always asking, how do we know people would be able to handle a legal drug supply? They'll have their answer in facts y figures, hard data (not anonymous surveys that can always be criticized as containing self-serving lies) showing that large numbers of people can use large amounts of drugs without causing trouble.

  • Malcolm Kyle||

    Every single Prohibitionist is a willing servant of tyranny and hate, having but one sole purpose - to make the rest of us suffer their putrid legacy of incalculable waste and destruction. Hand in hand with a Corporate controlled, propaganda-spewing mass-media machine, they continually connive to ensure that the inevitable consequences of their 'not fit for purpose' policy (the vast increase in corruption, mayhem, economic and moral decay) are all attributed to the prohibited substances themselves rather than the actual obvious and historically proven cause: the very prohibition of these substances.

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