Uruguay’s new president has pledged to continue the marijuana legalization policies left by his predecessor, but has also decided to postpone the implementation of public sales of cannabis, a key part of outgoing president Jose “Pepe” Mujica’s weed legalization plan.
With just a few days in office, Vázquez is moving more cautiously on the revolutionary law aimed at completely regulating the production and sale of marijuana in the small South American nation.
President Tabaré Vázquez, who took office on Sunday, has publicly stated that he does not support the consumption of weed, and suggested last year that a national growers database started by Mujica could eventually help the government “rehabilitate” weed smokers.
During his presidency, Mujica caught the world’s attention by completely legalizing the production and sale of marijuana in 2013, placing the entire chain of production under state control. The law allowed for three different ways to acquire marijuana legally: grow it yourself, join a cannabis club, or purchase it at a pharmacy.
In 2012, when the idea of legalizing cannabis was first discussed, Vázquez said people “shouldn’t consume marijuana,” because it produces negative “psychological, psychiatric, and neurological effects.”
“Marijuana causes as much damage, or even more, than tobacco,” Vázquez said at the time. “It’s best to just not smoke anything.”
Fifteen cannabis clubs and about 2,000 grow operations are already in motion. But on Wednesday, the Vázquez administration announced it would postpone the sale of marijuana at pharmacies, saying the country wasn’t ready to implement it yet.
In an interview with VICE News, Milton Romani, the new government’s chief drug regulator, said there was “no rush” to start pharmacy sales.
“I want this project to be successful,” Romani said on Wednesday, three days after assuming his post. “If we make a mistake by rushing, we fail.”
Romani told VICE News that the process has been “a bit delayed because the companies do not deliver documents on time, and in the manner that has been requested.” And, he said, because the necessary software is still being developed in order to sell cannabis in pharmacies.
“I am here to assure continuity in the drug policy,” Romani said.
– Read the entire article at Vice News.