Following in the footsteps of the states of Colorado and Washington, Uruguay is poised to be the first country in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults.
Proposed by President José Mujica in June 2012 and approved in the House of Representatives in July with 50 out of 96 votes, the Uruguayan Senate is set to vote on the bill Dec. 10. Once approved in the senate, Uruguay will have 120 days to write the regulations before implementing the law.
The bill allows four forms of access to marijuana: medical marijuana through the Ministry of Public Health, domestic cultivation of 6 plants, membership clubs similar to those found in Spain, and licensed sale in pharmacies. The bill also prohibits sales to minors, driving under the influence, and all forms of advertising for marijuana.
The bill is meant to separate marijuana users from the offer of more dangerous drugs on the black market, allow access to medical marijuana for patients in need, and enable Uruguay to reinvest the millions of dollars now flowing into the pockets of drug traffickers into education, treatment and prevention of problematic drug use.
Without a doubt, many eyes will be on Uruguay in the coming years to see how legalized marijuana affects the country.