Uruguay Takes ‘War On Drugs’ In New Direction: The State as Dealer

Uruguay has long been at the vanguard of social reform in Latin America. Today, it is on the verge of passing into law one of its most radical ideas yet.

The Broad Front — the center-left coalition that holds power — is proposing a state monopoly over the production and distribution of marijuana, making Uruguay the first national government to sell cannabis directly to citizens. The government says the measure is necessary to combat rising drug-related crime, decrease health risks for users, and counter ineffective US policies on drugs. But within Uruguay, interest groups have labeled the legislation totalitarian, while some international bodies argue it breaches global conventions.

“We’re putting this forward as international policy,” says Sebastian Sabini, president of the parliamentary commission created to debate the bill. “The war on drugs has failed. There are more consumers and more violence.”

“Uruguay is opening up a new path,” he says.

Uruguay is often overshadowed by the far larger economies of its neighbors Brazil and Argentina. But the country has made a name for itself with a long history of pushing the envelope on social issues.

In 1918, Uruguay became one of the first countries in the region to officially separate the state from the Roman Catholic Church. It implemented South America’s oldest mandatory pension system in 1896, and a bill to decriminalize abortion is expected to pass later this year.

“The bill is there to resolve Uruguay’s problems,” said Mujica. “We don’t want drug tourism.”

– Read the entire article at The Christian Science Monitor.

Comments

6 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    Good poise neighbour, keep it real.

  2. Anonymous on

    Calm down dear friend.. We south Americans have to bend ourselves to the US, don`t you know that? US representatives were down in Uruguay last month to try to `persuade` the government to not legalize and instead to intensify the war on drugs in the southern continent..

    This is one way Uruguay found to legalize. Next step will probably let the population grow its own cannabis.

  3. Anonymous on

    for the love of ganja all we need is our foot in the door we can change shit afterwards!!!!

  4. Anonymous on

    The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough. The most important aspect of this new legislation is that it shows that countries are fed up with the American imperial policies on drugs and the manner in which they are controlled. As an American I stand by Uraguay and politely say F@#K the DEA. All other countries should follow Uraguay’s lead and legalize or at least decriminalize.

    It will be interesting to see what happens economically as future profits are publicized. To hell with the drug tourism, they’ll do well with exports, medical and scientific research, processing extracts for medicinal use, as well as cancer clinics. Once the money starts to roll in other countries will break from the American federal policies, conventions and treaties (very important indeed).

  5. Anonymous on

    because it is government grown does not necessarily means it is good.So what is next ? Lettuce,carrots. You mean I dont have the right to grow what I want in my garden ? To hell with this south american bullshit