Well Well Well, So I Hear Uruguay decided to legalize marijuana use. Now I know that I am a tad late to this fun new happening in the small, but revolutionary Nation of Uruguay-rather The Oriental Republic of Uruguay (La Republica Oriental de Uruguay): A name that I have always found a little strange, but I learned that it is named this way because of it’s location east of the Uruguay River. First off The President of Uruguay, President Jose Mujica seems to be a pretty stand up guy as far as presidents go. Here is a man that holds the title of the world’s poorest president because he donates 90% of his salary to charity and to help small businesses. Now thats what I call putting your money where your mouth is! For a man of his age in his 70’s, he has been responsible for ushering a lot of forward thinking social reforms such as legalizing same sex marriage, and now marijuana legalization.
On Dec 23, 2013 President Mujica signed a law that fully legalizes every aspect of Marijuana use , making it the first nation in the world to do so. One can now buy up to 40 grams or 1.4 ounces each month from state licensed pharmacies. You can grow six marijuana plants and join smoking clubs of up to 45 members that together can grow 99 plants of year. An interesting aspect of this new law is that marijuana sold on the open market will cost much less than what illegal drugs on the street are priced, and that the most the growing would be regulated. To some this seems like a good thing, I am just wondering about the affects that phasing out the independent dealer in that way would have. Would it lead to newer forms of crime, or the creation of some marijuana-like drug made to be distributed at a cheaper price? How can the consumer be guaranteed that that plant wont be tampered with by the government?
The US has been pretty silent about Uruguay’s new innovative law. Meanwhile in 2012 48% of the drug related arrests in the country were from marijuana use, a large portion of that number from recreational smoking. The legalization debate in the US is not a new one. We have made some headway in places like Denver and the State of Washington, and even with the success seen in those places recently there are strong arguments on both sides of the legalization spectrum. Uruguay, with its 3.3 million inhabitants will test as the “control” to the experiment of US and eventually word wide marijuana legalization.