Ten days ago, the lower house of Uruguay's parliament passed a law legalising marijuana, reflecting a growing sentiment in Latin America that the current prohibition on drugs should change. Could Mexico be next?
On Wednesday 31st July 2013, the Uruguayan House of Representatives approved a marijuana regulation bill, bringing it one step closer to becoming the first country in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana.
Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina has called last week’s approval by Uruguayan lawmakers in the lower house of the legalization of recreational marijuana an “important step” in the fight against international drug trafficking. Pérez Molina said the initiative – which if passed by the Senate would task the Uruguayan government with the production and sale of marijuana – opens “a new space for discussion” on the merits of legalization of illicit drugs.
The world is watching, with keen eyes, as legislators in Montevideo inch ever so close to making Uruguay the first country ever to legalise the production, sale and use of ganja. The bill narrowly passed the lower House Thursday, by a 50 to 46 vote, and is expected to be successful in the Senate later this year.
After more than a year’s public deliberation and a 14-hour parliamentary debate, on July 31st Uruguay took a big step to becoming the first country in the world to legalise marijuana (cannabis). The lower house of Congress voted on party lines, by 50 to 46, to approve a bill from the left-wing Broad Front government to legalise and regulate the production and sale of the drug.
The week got off to an ominous start on Monday with the release of a survey by Cifra, Uruguay's leading pollster, showing that around two-thirds of the country has remained consistently opposed to marijuana regulation since it was first proposed a year ago. The poll found that 63 percent of over 1,000 respondents from around the country said they were in disagreement with "the bill to regulate the cultivation and consumption of marijuana in Uruguay," as the initiative was presented. Just 26 percent said they were in favor of it. This is identical to the degree of support it had in December 2012, when President Jose Mujica halted the bill's progress and called for a national debate on the matter after the release of a Cifra poll on December 18.
Uruguay is poised to become the first nation in the world to create a legal, regulated marijuana market. .. but is this the right way forward? Martin Jelsma is a leading expert on Latin America and international drugs policies. He told Vatican Radio's Susy Hodges that he's in favour of the new law in Uruguay and says it is not intended to liberalize the cannabis market but instead regulate it.
Uruguay's unprecedented plan to create a legal marijuana market has taken its critical first step in the lower house of Congress. All 50 members of the ruling Broad Front coalition approved the proposal just before midnight on Wednesday in a party line vote, keeping a narrow majority of the 96 MPs present after more than 13 hours of passionate debate.