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Uruguay government aims to legalise marijuana

  1. Euphoric
    Uruguay has unveiled a plan to allow state-controlled sales of marijuana to fight a rise in drug-related crime.

    Under the bill, only the government would be allowed to sell marijuana to adults registered on a database.

    Defence Minister Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro said this was part of a plan to remove profits from drug dealers and divert users from harder drugs.

    He said that the recent increase in murder rates was a clear symptom of a rise in drug trafficking crimes.
    Ground-breaking bill

    "We believe that the prohibition of certain drugs is creating more problems for society than the drugs themselves... with disastrous consequences," Mr Fernandez Huidobro said, presenting the bill.

    "Homicides related to settling scores have increased, and that's a clear sign that certain phenomena are appearing in Uruguay that didn't exist before," he said.

    The authorities blame the rise in crime in Uruguay on hard drugs, specifically crack cocaine.

    The new bill envisages that some shops would be allowed to sell marijuana cigarettes at a price fixed by the authorities.

    The government also wants to create a user database to supervise consumption.

    BBC regional correspondent Vladimir Hernandez says the move is seen as groundbreaking in South America.

    Several Central American leaders - including the presidents of Guatemala and Costa Rica - have spoken of the need to consider decriminalising some drugs in an attempt to undermine cartels.

    In Uruguay alone, the illegal marijuana market is estimated to be worth about $75m (£48m) a year.

    But the new bill has already proved controversial, and the debate in Congress could take several months, our correspondent says.

    21 June 2012 Last updated at 06:19



  1. Alfa
    It would be about time if the first country fully regulates marijuana sales. I wonder if this has a serious chance of becoming reality.
  2. godztear
    Uruguay: Another Latin American country goes against US drug policy

    Uruguay is considering legalizing and regulating marijuana sales in an effort to cut cocaine consumption and remove a significant source of funding for criminal groups, reports InSight Crime.

    The government of Uruguay is considering an unorthodox approach to combating drug trafficking: legalizing and regulating marijuana sales in an effort to cut cocaine consumption and remove a significant source of funding for criminal groups.

    The administration of Uruguayan President Jose Mujica has announced that it plans to send Congress a proposal for a bill which would legalize the sale of marijuana, but make the government the only legitimate provider of the drug. It is currently legal to possess the drug. Under the plan, the state would sell marijuana cigarettes to adults who signed up to a government register, which would allow officials to monitor purchases. People who attempted to purchase more than a specified amount at a time would be required to undergo drug rehabilitation treatment.

    According to El Pais, the Mujica government has framed the move as a part of a larger attempt to rein in cocaine consumption in the country. Uruguayan law enforcement has seen a significant rise in the amount of cocaine seized in recent years, usually in the form of cocaine paste, a cheaper and less refined version of the drug similar to crack. If marijuana is legalized and regulated, authorities hope it will encourage drug users to turn to this less addictive drug.

    The proposal comes amid growing concern over the influence of organized crime in the historically peaceful South American country, as InSight Crime reported in January. While Uruguay still has the lowest homicide rate in Latin America (6.1 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants), a May 2011 survey by polling firm Interconsult found that 62 percent of Uruguayans believe that their country is becoming more insecure. The perception is backed by the statistics; according to the country’s Interior Ministry, there were 133 homicides between January and May, up from 76 in the same period last year.

    The Associated Press notes that Minister Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro told reporters yesterday that the details of the plan need to be worked out, but if implemented it could significantly hit the illicit drug trade in the country. "The laws of the market will rule here: whoever sells the best and the cheapest will get rid of drug trafficking," Fernandez said. "We'll have to regulate farm production so there's no contraband and regulate distribution ... we must make sure we don't affect neighboring countries or be accused of being an international drug production center."

    Despite this optimism, it is still not clear whether the plan would have the intended effect on cocaine consumption and crime. Drug experts in the country have pointed out that while it might make marijuana consumption safer, as users would not have to deal with criminal suppliers, it probably would not have much impact on cocaine use.

    Geoffrey Ramsey | June 22, 2012
  3. InSearchofEuphroria
    Re: Uruguay: Another Latin American country goes against US drug policy

    I highly doubt this will reduce cocaine consumption. I'd even guess it'll increase consumption.
    There's a bit of overlap, but typically the types of individuals that use marijuana vs. cocaine differ considerably, and are looking for a considerably different high.

    It's like they have no idea what the effects are. If I wanted cocaine, I certainly wouldn't settle for marijuana as a substitute. I'd choose an amphetamine instead. If I were into those types of things, of course.

    But hey, good on them. One step at a time.
  4. Alfa
    The Dutch coffeeshop system shows that dividing the sales of cannabis and hard drugs causes a significant lowering of hard drug use. Looking at the difference between the Netherlands and other countries over the last 35 years, shows that a significant difference on this.
  5. Phenoxide
    So are they really discussing the prospect of legalization or do they mean decriminalization? These articles suggest it's the former but I was under the impression that legalization is all but impossible without violating various UN agreements and making a nation a political pariah. I also thought it was odd that they state marijuana possession is currently legal in Uruguay. Is this really the case or is it just not enforced as a criminal offense?

    It might seem like semantics but there are some fundamental differences between decriminalization and outright legalization.
  6. Docta
    Yep that's about sums up the problem that holds back the legalization of cannabis worldwide, there is no way to get the U.N. member majority vote needed to amend "Article 4" that totally prohibits recreational use,

    The two ways around the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is the clear distinction between and exemption of medical and scientific (Medical Marijuana) and not penalizing breaches of the convention that take place within jurisdiction (decriminalize) these are international laws there is no loop hole.

    The Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances compels signatory's to establish criminal penalties for ALL drugs prohibited under the aforementioned Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, it's the interwoven fabric of U.N, treaties that means a country under it's own sovereignty wishing to completely legalize marijuana would have to withdraw form all the treaties.

    The bureaucratic consensus-based amendment mechanisms at the U.N. is like something out of Futurama with Hermes the Jamaican accountant of Planet Express dictating the agenda, even with all the law enforcement, scientists and medical folk on board there is no way to legalize marijuana plain and simple.

    The government of Uruguay would be in an impossible position if it completely legalize marijuana, it would strike down unilateral agreements with other agency's, I'm thinking it will be decriminalized and grown under a the medical statute with some kind of licencing or tax system.
  7. nomud
    I heard about this pending legislation a couple of days ago.
    What I'd emphasize is where the tax money ends up.It's
    almost impossible to enforce small quantity possesion laws.
    It ties up the court system.I dare not say what I think is really
    going on.

    In Chile one can smoke marijuanna legally if you keep it private.
    And yes, it's very Cali type climate.Great waves too_Out of the two guays
    the other being the real bad boy Paraguay.That's the wild wild west.
  8. Alfa
    They indeed can not uphold the 1961 convention on narcotic drugs and legalize recreational use. After all Uruguay was the chairman of the convention.

    But they could go bold and say they dont give a crap, as The Netherlands, USA, Portugal and other countries are already allowing recreational use, by not enforcing the convention or by abusing the medical exception.

    It could also be that Uruguay is purposely stirring the pot to break this open and renegotiate a new convention. Which is something that more than a few countries may be open to.
  9. Calliope
    Uruguay: A Vote for Marijuana

    Uruguay moved a step closer to becoming the first country to legalize marijuana, with lawmakers introducing a bill that outlines how the drug would be produced, sold and regulated. The bill introduced Thursday in the lower house of Congress would allow citizens to grow up to six marijuana plants and to buy 1.4 ounces of marijuana every month. It would also allow for the licensing of marijuana clubs with up to 15 members, 90 plants and an annual production limit of nearly 16 pounds. Advertising and exports would be banned, and a regulatory institute would be created to control the drug’s production and distribution. President José Mujica has promoted the legalization of marijuana as a way to reduce the addiction and crime associated with harder drugs. Supporters expect the bill to become law by early next year.

    NYTimes, Nov 16th 2012

  10. Hey :-)
    Uruguay to track pot by genetic markers

    MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Uruguay's drug czar says every legal marijuana plant in Uruguay will be registered and tracked using radio frequency tags, and that state-grown marijuana will be cloned to include genetic markers, making sure that what's grown here, stays here.

    That's a much tougher tracking system than those imposed in Colorado and Washington, which recently legalized marijuana use. Unlike those U.S. states, Uruguay wants authorities to be able to test the pot in any drug user's possession to determine if it came from a registered, legal source.

    [IMGR=''white'']https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=37978&stc=1&d=1396166447[/IMGR]Colorado and Washington also are trying to tag and track plants grown for commercial use. But neither state plans to track the pot once sold. These states allow adults over 21 to possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams), without requiring them to prove they got it from a legal source. Many other U.S. states with medical marijuana laws allow pot possession by licensed patients, and their police have no standard way of knowing where the product came from or how a user got it.

    The rules for Uruguay's official marijuana market will be published next month, but the first government-grown plants won't be ready until the end of the year, National Drug Commission President Julio Calzada said in an interview with The Associated Press. It will take that long to harvest genetically identical pot from cloned plants whose products can be identified as legal by the authorities, he said.

    Uruguay will use radio-frequency tags to track plants and products, similar to the Marijuana Inventory Tracking System Colorado began using on Jan. 1 for commercially grown weed. Calzada says Uruguay already uses the same technology to track beef from field to store shelves.

    Colorado's system calls for each commercial marijuana seedling to get a tag when it reaches 8 inches (20 centimeters), or gets replanted in a pot at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide. The tags emit a high-frequency radio signal with unique information that can be verified using an electronic reader from several meters away. The tags also have scannable bar codes and other identifying information.

    Washington state has a different tracking system that promises to follow its commercial marijuana from seed to sale.

    But no U.S. state is attempting what Uruguay plans to do in terms of policing a legal marijuana marketplace. For example, Colorado allows adults to grow their own pot at home, with no requirements to tag or register those plants, or vouch for where they came from, and adults are free to give away any pot they grow.

    Washington doesn't allow home growing, but like Colorado, it has a "seed-to-sale" tracking system, and doesn't even try to ensure that only state-sanctioned pot is possessed by legal users thereafter.

    Uruguay, on the other hand, is designing a registration and licensing system so complete that authorities hope not only to defeat illegal marijuana trafficking, but also to monitor drug users closely enough to get abusers into treatment and gradually decrease consumption.

    Uruguay is the first country in the world to develop a legal nationwide marijuana market. The law approved Dec. 10 will enable any registered adult to buy up to 1.4 ounces (40 grams) a month in pharmacies, or join a marijuana growing club, or grow their own pot plants — as many as six per family, harvesting no more than 17 ounces (480 grams) a year.

    Calzada dismissed speculation by Sen. Lucia Topolansky, the wife of President Jose Mujica, that the government would import pot from Canada, which produces legal medical marijuana, to get the system going.

    "The price of Canadian marijuana is significantly higher than what marijuana sells for in the black market of Uruguay. So we would have to sell the marijuana at $8 or $10 a gram, when the black market price here is a dollar."

    Instead, the government will grow its own cloned plants, delaying the launch until year's end. And that means that for six months following the official publication of the rules next month, Uruguay will tolerate illegal marijuana plants in the possession of licensed and registered growers. However, any non-government pot must be registered and tracked using the radio frequency system, Calzada said.

    "There will be a registration system for the growing clubs and for self-growing. The person will have to go and declare what he's planting. The information about each plant will remain in a database. What we want is to know that what's being planted here isn't leaving the country," Calzada said Thursday night.

    "When a home grower registers his plant, we'll do an analysis and provide a card with a certain code. And what we'll inspect will be these codes, which we'll follow by radio frequency. This is perfectly doable."

    By Leonardo Haberkorn, Kristen Wyatt & Michael Warren
    Photograph google img.
    March 28 2014
    AP, Westport News
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