In many quarters, Uruguay’s president José Mujica was one of the heroes of 2013.
It wasn’t just students with Bob Marley posters on their walls that celebrated the country’s move to legalise cannabis, which takes effect in April. Many other (presumably) not-under-the-influence voices praised what they saw as a bold, practical move to combat the problems caused by the illegal drug trade. Some even suggested Mujica should win a Nobel prize.
Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst for Transform Drug Policy Foundation and author of How to Regulate Cannabis, advised the Uruguayan president and government on their cannabis reform laws.
‘The Uruguayans looked long and hard at the evidence of the war on drugs approach, which showed that it’s enormously expensive but it neither deters use, nor reduces availability,’ said Rolles.
‘The war on drugs, like US alcohol prohibition, has been an unmitigated disaster. It has, however, achieved a great deal for the gangsters that now control a market worth £260bn a year, not to mention corrupt officials, prison builders and money-laundering banks who’ve all profited hugely from this 50-year folly. They have decided the pragmatic solution is to put the government, rather than gangsters and unregulated dealers, in control of the cannabis market.’
– Read the entire article at Metro UK.