Uruguay has become the first country to create a national marketplace for legal marijuana, with the government regulating the production, sales and use of pot in a bold bid to control addiction and drug violence.
The Senate gave final legislative approval to the bill late Tuesday, and President Jose Mujica, who campaigned for the legislation, is expected to sign it into law. The 78-year-old president has said he wants the market to begin operating next year.
“Today is an historic day. Many countries of Latin America, and many governments, will take this law as an example,” Sen. Constanza Moreira, a member of the governing Broad Front coalition, said as the bill passed with 16 votes in favor and 13 against. Congress’ lower house approved the measure in late July.
The groundbreaking legislation to create a government-run marijuana industry was opposed by two-thirds Uruguayans, recent opinion polls said.
But Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla who spent years in jail as a younger man while others experimented with marijuana, went ahead with the legislation anyway. He argued the global drug war is a failure and said bureaucrats can do a better job of containing addictions and beating organized crime than police, soldiers and prison guards.
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.
Read More Via: Fox News