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In a historic moment the nation of Uruguay became the first country on Earth to legalize and regulate the sale and distribution of marijuana for adult citizens. The movement ‘Legalizar Uruguay 2013’ was supported by the President Jose Mujica and the Broad Front majority, with funding from billionaire philanthropists George Soros and David Rockefeller. Over the next 4 months the state’s drug control agency will take control of all aspects of cannabis production and consumption.

The following are some articles from the net on this history making story:

Uruguay legalizes sale and production of marijuana

Published time: December 11, 2013 00:37  // Edited time: December 11, 2013 07:22

 

Uruguay has become the first country in the world to legalize both the sale and production of marijuana. President Jose Mujica has championed the measure as a way of combatting the illegal drug industry that has decimated parts of Uruguay.

The country’s parliament passed the bill by a vote of 16 to 13 on Tuesday evening. Senator Alberto Couriel, a member of the ruling Broad Front left-wing coalition, called the passing of the bill “a historic day” for Uruguay.

Under the new legislation, the price of marijuana will be set at one dollar per gram, aiming to undercut the current price of $1.40 on the illegal market. The sale and production of the drug will be regulated by a specially-set-up government body which will administer a database of adult citizens registered to consume marijuana.

“This is an attempt to bring an end to the illegal drugs trade by identifying the market and bringing it into the light of day,” said President Mujica in a statement. Mujica added that the law does not promote the consumption of the drug; it merely identifies the consumer so that authorities may “intervene if [the consumer] overdoes it.”

Before the new legislation was passed, the consumption of marijuana in Uruguay was not penalized, but the sale and production of the drug was considered a criminal offense.

People march for the legalization of marijuana towards the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, on December 10, 2013, as the Senate discuss a law on the legalization of marijuana's cultivation and consumption. (AFP Photo/Pablo Porciuncula)People march for the legalization of marijuana towards the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, on December 10, 2013, as the Senate discuss a law on the legalization of marijuana’s cultivation and consumption. (AFP Photo/Pablo Porciuncula)

A number of conditions will govern the sale and production of the drug. Registered Uruguayans over the age of 18 will have the right to buy up to 40 grams of marijuana from pharmacies every month and cultivate a maximum of six plants on their property. The legislation will also allow for the creation of so-called cannabis clubs, composed of up to 45 members who will be able to grow a maximum of 100 plants.

Uruguayan Senator Lucia Topolansky (C) votes to approve a law legalizing marijuana in the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, on December 10, 2013 (AFP Photo/Miguel Rojo)Uruguayan Senator Lucia Topolansky (C) votes to approve a law legalizing marijuana in the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, on December 10, 2013 (AFP Photo/Miguel Rojo)

Uruguay’s National Drug Board estimates that there are around 120,000 marijuana users in Uruguay from a population of 3.3 million. Consumer groups estimate a higher figure, putting the number of users at around 200,000.

The bill has triggered debate in Latin America over the issue of the illegal drugs trade and the problems it creates.

“I think it is unrealistic,” Paraguay’s National Anti-drug Minister, Luis Rojas, told Spanish news agency Efe earlier this year. Despite the new law, Rojas said he believes Uruguay will continue to receive marijuana grown in Paraguay.

Moreover, president of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Alves, said that Brazil was not ready for the legalization of marijuana in neighboring Uruguay. According to police figures, around 80 percent of the marijuana cultivated in Paraguay is exported to Brazil where it feeds the illegal drug trade. Brazil is concerned that the legalization of the drug could lead to a similar system in Uruguay.

ARTICLE SOURCE: RT.com

 

Uruguay becomes first country to legalize and fully regulate production, sale and distribution of marijuana

Leonardo Haberkorn And Michael Warren, Associated Press | 10/12/13 | Last Updated:10/12/13 8:34 PM ET

People march for the legalization of marijuana towards the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, on December 10, 2013, as the Senate discuss a law on the legalization of marijuana's cultivation and consumption.

PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty ImagesPeople march for the legalization of marijuana towards the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, on December 10, 2013, as the Senate discuss a law on the legalization of marijuana’s cultivation and consumption.

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Uruguay’s Senate approved the world’s first national marketplace for legal marijuana Tuesday, an audacious and risky experiment that puts the government in charge of growing, selling and using a drug that is illegal almost everywhere else.

The vote was 16 to 13, with the governing Broad Front majority united in favour. The plan now awaits the signature of President Jose Mujica, who wants the market to begin operating next year.

Two-thirds of Uruguayans oppose a government-run marijuana industry, according to opinion polls. But Mujica said he’s convinced the global drug war is a failure and feels bureaucrats can do a better job of containing addictions and beating organized crime than police, soldiers and prison guards.

“Today is an historic day. Many countries of Latin America, and many governments, will take this law as an example,” cheered Sen. Constanza Moreira, voting with the Broad Front majority.

Uruguay’s drug control agency will have 120 days, until mid-April, to draft regulations imposing state control over the entire market for marijuana, from seed to smoke.

Everyone involved must be licensed and registered, with government monitors enforcing limits such as the 40 grams a month any adult will be able to buy at pharmacies for any reason or the six marijuana plants that license-holders will be allowed to grow at home.

Congress’ lower house approved the bill in late July, and senators rejected all proposed amendments, enforcing party discipline before Tuesday’s debate to assure the outcome.

Former Health Minister Alfredo Solari, a Colorado Party senator, warned Tuesday that children and adolescents will more easily get their hands on pot and that “the effects of this policy on public health will be terrible.”

But Sen. Roberto Conde, a former deputy foreign minister with the Broad Front, said marijuana “is already established in Uruguay. It’s a drug that is already seen as very low risk and enormously easy to get.”

Mujica, a 78-year-old former leftist guerrilla who spent years in jail while many others experimented with marijuana, said the goal is to reduce drug use. A government ad campaign launched Friday makes the same point, warning of pot smoking’s dangers to human health.

“This is not liberalization of marijuana. It can be consumed within certain parameters established by law. I think it will reduce consumption,” Sen. Luis Gallo, a retired doctor who favoured the bill, told The Associated Press.

The government got help from a national TV campaign and other lobbying efforts supporting by billionaire currency speculator and philanthropist George Soros and his Open Society Foundation and Drug Policy Alliance. In September, Mujica met with Soros and billionaire David Rockefeller in New York to explain his “experiment.”

These deep-pocketed connections drew criticism from Mujica’s opponents.

“I would say to Mr. Soros, to Mr. Rockefeller, and to the president of the republic that you don’t experiment with the Uruguayans. We are not guinea pigs,” Colorado Party Sen. Pedro Bordaberry said Tuesday.

Hannah Hetzer, a lobbyist for the Alliance who moved to Montevideo for the campaign, watched closely from the Senate gallery.

“Uruguay is seeking an alternative to a failed model. I think that this is the beginning of the end of a prohibitionist model and the beginning of a more intelligent focus,” she said.

 

ARTICLE SOURCE National Post

 

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