Uruguay Becomes the First Country to Legalize Marijuana

Today the Uruguayan Senate approved a marijuana legalization bill that was passed by the House of Representatives last July. After President José Mujica signs the bill, Uruguay will become the first country in the world to fully legalize cannabis. Under the bill, which Mujica championed, the government will grow marijuana and distribute it to pharmacies, where adults will be allowed to buy up to 40 grams (about 1.4 ounces) a month. The bill also allows home cultivation of up to six plants and nonprofit distribution by cannabis clubs similar to Spain's. Uruguay's drug control agency has until mid-April to write regulations for the new system.

While Uruguay is smaller in population and land area than Colorado and Washington, the two U.S. states that have legalized the commercial cultivation and sale of cannabis, it is the first nation to officially allow marijuana distribution for recreational use. Although the Dutch government for decades has tolerated retail sales of marijuana at so-called coffee shops, the drug remains illegal in the Netherlands. "It's about time that we see a country bravely break with the failed prohibitionist model and try an innovative, more compassionate, and smarter approach," says Hannah Hetzer of the Drug Policy Alliance. "For 40 years, marijuana prohibition has been attempted, and it simply hasn't worked. But rather than closing their eyes to the problem of drug abuse and drug trafficking, Uruguay has chosen responsible regulation of an existing reality. Let's hope others soon follow suit."

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Uruguay kindly requests that Somalia stops pronouncing it Ur-a-gay."

    Is there no country that never criminalized cannabis in the first place?

  • amelia||

    That is a great question. Please, someone get to work and find the answer!

  • ||

    I've heard that about best korea.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I find this a much more interesting map.

    Holy shit, those Micronesians are baked out of their fucking minds! No wonder you still have cannibal tribes there, they're fucking hungry from smoking all that dope!

  • Rhywun||

    I used to wonder why drugs are illegal pretty much everywhere, because I thought surely nobody beats the USA in puritanical busybodyism. Eventually I learned I was wrong.

  • SIV||

    Thank the UN. Without treaties requiring every country outlaw drugs how many would even bother?

  • Rhywun||

    Really - I didn't realize the UN was involved. I just assumed the US strong-armed the world into it somehow.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How else would the Public Health ninnies at the WHO justify the millions of millions of dollars in their budget?

  • ||

    I mean as bad as we are here on drugs we don't hang people like they do in Singapore and elsewhere. That's not our fault.

  • CatoTheElder||

    I think it goes back the the League of Nations, actually.

  • SIV||

    Even before. Ol' Teddy Roosevelt was strong-arming an international drug treaty back when you could still order Heroin from the Sears Roebuck catalogue.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    OTC - I mean OT:

    A couple states passed, and a couple states are considering, laws by which the states will not cooperate in enforcing federal gun control laws or rega passed after a cut-off date, say Dec 1, 2013. So if the feds put on new controls after that date, they'll have to enforce them without using state or local cops

    http://bit.ly/18zpeYf

  • Sevo||

    "So if the feds put on new controls after that date, they'll have to enforce them without using state or local cops"

    OK, lets see a show of hands betting the local cops fold like a wet napkin after the feds say 'No more fun military toys for you!'

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yeah, for all intents and purposes, Federalism is dead. It's the same shit they pulled to get 48 states to adopt the Common Core before they even finished writing the standards. No CC, no Race to the Top funding.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It's coming apart. People will only tolerate so much.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    I keep saying that, but then a new peak derp is achieved without a whisper of unrest. I've lost hope of it getting any better before it gets much much worse.

  • ||

    Watching the animated movie 'The Iron Giant'. And while it is still a favorite movie from my childhood, it does have an anti-gun message. They actually just said, in dialogue, that 'guns kill'.

  • ||

    Also promotes caffeine abuse.

    What about the chilrunz?

  • JeremyR||

    I think about the only pro-gun movie is The Rundown with the Rock.

    He absolutely refuses to use guns in the first part of the movie. But then he has an epiphany and uses them to save himself and his annoying sidekick.

  • Pelosi's Rabbit||

    Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The International Humanist and Ethical Union issues a report on the worldwide persecution of nonbelievers.

    (This is not a religion story, unless of course you think atheism is a religion)

    Atheists face the greatest danger in Baptist-ruled countries. Just kidding.

    http://reut.rs/1cxdEBf

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Interestingly that data set matches up perfectly with countries that impose the death penalty for homosexual acts!

    Wow, that's a weird coincidence! I wonder what the common thread could be.

  • Sevo||

    Hey, only 13 countries where I gotta pack? I'm down with that...

  • playa manhattan||

    It took me a second before I realized you were talking about atheism...

  • Rhywun||

    The article implies that "nonbelievers" includes believers in religions other than one certain religion. I think you might face some issues too Ed :P

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Why isn't anyone reporting on Uruguay changing its national anthem?

  • Sevo||

    Bob Marley ain't good enough?
    http://www.youtube.com/results.....ginal&sm=1

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    They wanted something "modern", but I agree with you about the classics.

  • ||

  • ||

    Not really related, but this is effectively done. Fuck pigs.

  • ||

    What's with all the russians?

  • CatoTheElder||

    Finally, a free country on the planet.

    If they establish real property rights, I'll emigrate.

  • Winston||

    Finally, a free country on the planet.

    Back when pot was legal the US had slavery and then segregation. What are you a racist?

  • JD the elder||

    Unfortunately they recently introduced an income tax. Hopefully they kill it off before it becomes too entrenched.

  • HelloWorld||

    Mujica , the president of Uruguay, is a pretty cool guy - despite being a former leftist rebel who spent quite a bit of time in jail.

    He refuses to live in the presidential palace, but lives in a shack on his property, while driving around in a beet up beetle. He refunds the presidential salary. Imagine a politician who isn't making a killing.

    Meanwhile Uruguay is, economically, one of the most liberal in the region. And the most honest courts. The Switzerland of Latin America.

  • HelloWorld||

    I forgot to mention that the bbc made a documentary about Mujica - the poorest president in the world.

  • Pelosi's Rabbit||

    Plus, he kind of looks like Scotty.

  • HarryUSA||

    More pot to the bridge Scotty!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It is worth noting that Uruguay is not exactly the sticks or another dysfunctional Latin American country, were anyone interested in dismissing this policy as nonsense from a Venezuela-type nation. It's a pretty nice place, and generally considered well-governed and developed -- also very free market for the region. With a little work, it would be a decent Galt's Gulch for us nervous paranoids (or those of us who can speak Spanish, anyways).

  • seguin||

    Seems pretty nice. Needs moar gunz though.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    I need to quit being lazy and learn a second language.. at least to a level that I could understand what is being said in that language. Sometimes I think I may need to start learning Russian the way the nuclear industry is going in North America.

  • ||

    Welch commented on The Independents live comments. In case commenters missed them.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I saw that. Those were our personal comments he was rifling through, but on privacy issues with reason it's do as I say not as I do.

  • Winston||

    try an innovative, more compassionate, and smarter approach.....Uruguay has chosen responsible regulation of an existing reality

    So like Colorado?

  • JeremyR||

    Uruguay is also a great example of open borders - pretty much all the original inhabitants were exterminated and the rest driven out, apparently there are about 700 left in Argentina.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charrúa

  • RishJoMo||

    Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with it.

    www.Anon-Get.tk

  • Paul Pot||

    A Noble Peace Prize to President Mujica and his colleagues.
    What they have done in Uruguay will prove to the world that there never was a need for the totalitarian police state approach to marijuana consumption.
    Over the next year the most importanat news we will hear from Uruguay will be the same news we heard from Colorado and Washington over the last year since they legalized, which is no news.
    There have been no plagues of kids on drugs or road smashes due to marijuana.
    The hospitals are not full of OD's or schizophrenics high on drugs.
    Criminals have not taken over the state.
    It's just another day.
    What happens in Uruguay will echo around the world.
    As other nations follow and legalize, crime corruption, violence and terrorism will gradually decrease.
    Nothing could do more for world peace than ending the drug war.

  • Herb||

    "Under the bill, which Mujica championed, the government will grow marijuana and distribute it to pharmacies, where adults will be allowed to buy up to 40 grams"

    Yay, a state industry. High fives all around, Libertarians.

    (Meanwhile, I notice you haven't posted anymore nonsense about the Denver City Council's much more reasonable and generous regulations on private commercial sales. Why is that, Jacob Sullum?)

  • Invisible Finger||

    Mother Nature legalized it billions of years ago.

  • gaoxiaen||

    That Mujica looks like a hippie. He even drives a Volkswagen.

  • HarryUSA||

    Some countries get it. Some don't.

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