URUGUAY: Uruguay has chosen to “bravely break with the failed prohibitionist model” in becoming the first country to legalize and regulate the production, distribution, sale and use of marijuana in a landmark bill passed by the country’s parliament Tuesday.
The bill, which will be signed by leftist President José Mujica, was designed as an “experiment aimed at finding an alternative to the deadly and unsuccessful war on drugs,” as the Guardian reports. While other countries have legalized possession of marijuana, Uruguay’s new law is the first in the world to legalize and regulate all aspects of the trade.
Mujica said that the controversial bill is a deliberate move away from the “war on drugs,” which has only helped fill the pockets of criminals in the illegal drug trade and has failed to discourage drug use.
“We’ve given this market as a gift to the drug traffickers,” said Mujica, “and that is more destructive socially than the drug itself, because it rots the whole of society.” He added that legalization allows for regulation and taxation and moves “the drug’s use out of the shadows” and helps “social and health professionals better observe and respond to those who develop addictions,” as the L.A. Times reports.
“We are asking the world to help us with this experience,” Mujica said earlier this month, “which will allow the adoption of a social and political experiment to face a serious problem – drug trafficking.”
“The effects of drug trafficking are worse than those of the drugs themselves,” he stated.