Uruguayan Government Proposes Becoming First Country to Nationalize Production and Sale of Marijuana
Even drug-friendly European nations have not done what Uruguay is considering: nationalize marijuana production.
Under a controversial plan proposed by President José Mujica, Uruguay would create a state monopoly over the production and sale of marijuana, making it the first government in the world to sell the drug directly to citizens.
Supporters say the radical move would reduce drug-related crime, decrease health risks among users and be more effective than the U.S.-touted war on drugs, which is wearing thin in countries other than the United States.
Most Uruguayans are not ready to support the plan, with only 40% in favor. United Nations officials have objected to the idea, saying it would put the country in violation of a 1961 convention on narcotics.
If Uruguay goes through with the state taking over marijuana dealings, it would put the South American country ahead of Portugal, which abolished all criminal penalties for drug use in 2001, and the Netherlands, which has turned a blind eye to marijuana sales and use since 1976. In the Czech Republic it is legal to possess up to 15 grams of marijuana or five plants.
To Learn More:
South America Sees Drug Path to Legalization (by Damien Cave, New York Times)
Uruguay Takes 'War On Drugs' In New Direction: The State As Dealer (by Jonathan Gilbert, Christian Science Monitor)
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