Uruguay proposes controlled legalization of marihuana


The draft legislation to be presented by the leftist government of President José Mujica is designed to beat growing violence and insecurity
The Uruguay government will introduce a draft bill for the “controlled legalization” of marihuana, which implies state control over the production and distribution of the drug.
It is the first Latin-American country to propose this type of legislative norm.

The proposal has been presented by the leftist government of President José Mujica with a package of about fifteen measures, all destined to fight the growing violence and insecurity.
“We believe that the prohibition of certain drugs is causing more problems for society than those caused by the drugs themselves (...) with disastrous consequences”, Defense Minister Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro said during a press conference, where he explained that the objective is “a strong state control over distribution and production” of cannabis.
Currently three legislative proposals circulate in parliament, presented by different parties, all destined to legalize cannabis. However, government rejected them all “in order not to affect neighboring countries and to avoid accusations of being some sort of international production and distribution center for drugs”, the hierarch said, esteeming that the internal market for marihuana is worth about 75 million dollars each year.  “Therefore we are more prone to hold a strong state control over production and distribution of this drug”, he added.
“We took into account international treaties, the relations with our neighbors and all diplomatic questions surrounding such an important change in policy (...) until the moment in which the legalization of this drug will we a worldwide reality” he stated.
Fernandez Huidobro pointed to the increase in the number of murders between criminals, thus settling their scores, as a “clear sign of a new phenomenon that previously did not exist in Uruguay”.
Between January and May 133 homicides have been reported throughout the country, which makes for an increase of 70% compared to the 76 cases reported over the same period in 2011.
20% of these cases involve quarrels and disputes, 16% are for settling scores, 17% as a result of robbery or theft, while 14% is related to domestic violence.  
“Ours is not a new idea, a lone pilgrim, it is an idea that is being debated more and more” around the world, Fernandez Huidobro said, pointing out that it is “the line of Felipe González (former Spanish prime minister)”.
Montevideo, Uruguay 20/6/2012