Uruguay is to be the first country in the world to fully legalize the trade and use of marijuana. The new law is in its final stages of consideration by the Uruguayan Senate. The new legislation is all but approved and all that remains if for President Jose Mujica to put his signature on it.
The leftist president was himself the main driving force for the new law, along with his ruling Broad Front Coalition which wants Uruguay to be the first sovereign nation in the world to run a full marijuana trade.
Even though the new legislation is about to be implemented not all Uruguayans are happy. At least two-thirds oppose the new law and many are vocally against Uruguay legalizing Marijuana at all.
A lobbyist for the Uruguay marijuana legalization, Hannah Hetzer, expressed her delight about the new legislation: “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,” she said.
The thinking behind the new controversial laws is that there is a need to eliminate the mafia crime aspect from the marijuana trade. The thinking is that, as a soft drug, it is not considered to be very harmful.
By legalizing marijuana in the country, it is hoped that growers and suppliers will be able to sell the drug freely. This will remove the criminal aspect which costs the country both loss of lives and costs of policing.
Julio Bango, the Socialist Deputy who co-authored the legislation, said: “This is not a law to liberalize marijuana consumption, but rather to regulate it. Today there is a market dominated by drug traffickers. We want the state to dominate it.”
One particular Uruguayan grower of marijuana, Marcelo Vasquez, said that the new law will allow him to realize his life-long dream: “This is a huge opportunity and we have to take advantage of it. My lifelong dream has been to legally cultivate marijuana, and to live off this, to pay my taxes.”