Uruguay to defend marijuana plan at U.N.

URUGUAY: Uruguayan President Jose Mujica plans to defend his government’s groundbreaking marijuana licensing plan in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September, his spokesman said Friday.

By then, the marijuana proposal is expected to be the law in this land of 3.3 million, with bureaucrats preparing to issue the first licenses to grow, sell and smoke government-approved pot.

Mujica, 78, a former leftist guerrilla who still lives on a ramshackle flower farm, is an unusual leader by any standard, and he has gained a global reputation for his homespun oratory. His speech urging humility and simplicity in a world of conspicuous consumption has been viewed millions of times on YouTube since he wowed the audience at the Rio+20 environmental conference last year.

Judging from the radio address he made to Uruguayans on Thursday after the marijuana plan passed its first test in congress, his arguments for alternatives to the drug war could be memorable as well.

Excerpts from the address:

“There’s no doubt that humans for now, are the most intelligent animals that nature offers on our planet. There’s no doubt, however, that incredibly, they take on habits that go against their own life.”

“Nobody doubts that cigarettes are poison. Who could doubt that it threatens life? We all know it. We’ve known it for a while and we suffer from it. And yet, we smoke. You often find doctors who smoke and ask their patients not to smoke. We contract diseases that would be avoidable.”

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