Uruguay Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
That’s right. On Tuesday, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize and regulate marijuana. By mid-2014, citizens (but not tourists) will be able to buy a maximum of 40 grams (1.4 ounces) from the government each month at $1 a gram and grow up to six plants in their homes each year. Marijuana smoking clubs can grow up to 99 a year. By keeping the price fixed at a low level, the government hopes to push traffickers out of the market and reduce drug-related violence. Take that, cartels!
The weirdest part is that a majority of Uruguayans are against legalization. But public opinion seems to be coming around. According to the most recent poll conducted by Equipos Consultores, 58% of Uruguayans oppose legalization, down from 68% in June.
Though Uruguay has violated United Nations drug policies, which prohibit the production and supply of all drugs not used for medical or scientific purposes, advocates of drug policy reform welcome the government’s progressive approach to tackling the drug war. Drug policy expert Sanho Tree put it best: “For the first time, a country has said we’ll take the profits out of the drug trade and give criminals no reason to traffic the stuff—it’s a counterintuitive solution to the problem.”