A few days ago HMJ first reported on a plan coming out of the South American nation of Uruguay. Uruguay over the past decade has proven one of Latin America’s more competent states. It has one of the strongest economies on the continent, as well as one of its highest rankings on both the U.N.’s human development index and Transparency International’s corruption gauge. Now Uruguay has proposed going into the cannabis business. The government will produce and sell the cannabis to its own citizens in a closed system. People are taking notice and talking about the idea.
Late last week, the small and stable South American nation of Uruguay (pop 3.3 million) proposed legalizing and monitoring marijuana sales – making the government, in fact, the sole legal seller. The purpose of the unprecedented bill, which Uruguayan President José Mujica calls an anti-crime measure, is to pre-empt the often violent black market where marijuana is illegally sold (marijuana use itself is legal in Uruguay) and to channel the $750 million that Uruguayan pot users spend on the drug each year into public coffers. “The traditional [interdiction] approach hasn’t worked,” Mujica said. “Someone has to be the first” to try this.
Mujica’s proposal, which still has to pass Uruguay’s Congress, is indeed the first to be lit up in the wake of April’s Summit of the Americas in Colombia, where host President Juan Manuel Santos and a number of other drug war-weary Latin American leaders told the U.S. the same thing: that the traditional interdiction strategy Washington so obstinately defends no longer really works, and that it’s time to try new tactics, including marijuana legalization. Uruguay’s defense minister argued last week that spiraling drug violence in regions like Latin America, as well as the spiraling costs of drug interdiction and incarceration worldwide, is today as big if not a bigger crisis “than the drugs themselves.”
Change is coming from more then one direction, Greenies. This is a story worth a read; find it here.
[image: Goggle images Uruguay]
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