September 19, 2014
Mujica to sign pot regulations today
Marijuana to be formally legalized in Uruguay but won’t be sold until end of year
MONTEVIDEO — President José Mujica will today sign into law the regulations governing Uruguay’s marijuana industry, the law coming into force immediately, the Presidency’s Pro-Secretary Diego Cánepa said yesterday, .
The rules are two weeks overdue and have been leaked by local media even though Mujica had asked the details not to be released prior to their publication.
Rules will limit consumers to buying 10 grams of pot a month, rather than the maximum of 40 grams set by legislators, in a bid to reduce the illegal resale of marijuana that will be sold by pharmacies.
Registered buyers will get cards linked to an electronic database that will track each user’s purchases, but the cards won’t have names on them and the records won’t reveal identities to pharmacy staff.
‘Right to experiment’
The new law has sparked significant opposition in Uruguay, with the majority opposing it, but Mujica and the ruling Broad Front have insisted that the West has lost its “war on drugs” and that countries need to try a different approach to fight drug-trafficking.
In an interview with the AP last week, Mujica underlined “a society’s right to experiment.”
“If it didn’t exist, we would be forever condemned to paralysis: nothing would ever change. There’s no other way to advance. The institutional life of a society is a permanent experiment,” the president said.
Uruguay is the first country in the world to attempt to create a nationwide market regulating the cultivation, sale and use of legal marijuana.
Once the system launches, registered users should be able to buy their weed in pharmacies, grow as much as six plants per family and harvest 480 grams a year at home, or join cultivation clubs that can have as many as 45 members and 99 plants.
The regulations establish that the state will sell five different types of marijuana that will have a maximum THC content of 15 percent. The gram of cannabis will cost the equivalent of US$0.8 or US$0.9.
The government has determined that buyers must be over 18-years-old and must be legal residents of Uruguay, in an attempt to avoid marijuana tourism in the country.
Cánepa said yesterday that the government expects the legal marijuana market to comprise 25 percent of the total market a year from now.
During the interview with the AP, Mujica said that Uruguay will not create a cult of worship around the drug and insisted that young people should be advised that “there are no magical solutions in a joint or in a bottle.”
Also yesterday, the Uruguayan Senate voted to forbid tobacco companies from advertising at points of sale. The initiative will now pass to the Lower Chamber, where it is also expected to pass.
Herald with AP, Télam