Uruguayan president signs marijuana law
Uruguayan President Jose Mujica has signed a controversial plan authorizing the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana.
The law authorizes individuals to grow cannabis in small amounts and allows the establishment of consumer clubs under state supervision. Presidential Secretary Diego Canepa made the announcement on Tuesday, December 24.
After being passed by the lower house of Congress in August, the legislation was approved by Uruguayan senators earlier this month.
Under the new law, adults aged 18 and over will be allowed to grow no more than six plants of marijuana. They may also purchase up to 40 grams of the drug from pharmacies per month.
After the law takes effect, the government must lay out specific rules and regulations for the production and use of different types of marijuana by April 9.
Moreover, the cost of marijuana will be set at one dollar per gram, intended to undercut the current price of USD1.40 on the illegal market.
Mujica backed the measure as a bid to combat the illicit drug industry that has decimated parts of the nation.
Meanwhile, the United Nations body, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), has slammed the move by the Uruguayan leader, saying it is against international law.
INCB president Raymond Yans said that the move by Uruguay would “not protect young people, but rather have the perverse effect of encouraging early experimentation, lowering the age of first use, and thus contributing to… earlier onset of addiction and other disorders.”
Uruguay is the first country to legalize the production and use of marijuana.
Although the consumption of the drug was not penalized prior to the legalization of marijuana, its sale and production was considered a criminal offense.