Montevideo, Uruguay: Members of the Uruguay Senate approved legislation this week authorizing the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to all citizens age 18 and older. Members of Uruguay's House had previously approved the measure months earlier. The bill now goes to President José Mujica, who intends to sign the measure into law in the coming days.
Once adopted, Uruguay will be the first nation in modern history to regulate the licensed production and sale of cannabis.
"This is an attempt to bring an end to the illegal drugs trade by identifying the market and bringing it into the light of day," said President Mujica in a statement.
Commenting on the forthcoming law change, NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri said, "Uruguay's efforts are historic, but they are hardly an isolated event. In both the US and abroad, public and political support for marijuana criminalization is collapsing - and rightly so."
Under the pending law, residents of the South American nation will be able to legally purchase up to 40 grams of cannabis per month. (Sales to non-residents will not be permitted.) Price controls will set the cost of cannabis available at state-stores to $1 per gram. The forthcoming law would also allow households to grow up to six cannabis plants each; it also allows for the establishment of cooperatives, which will be able to grow as many as 99 plants.
Specific regulations overseeing the new policy are anticipated to be in place 120 days after the measure is signed into law.
The possession of personal use amounts of cannabis in Uruguay is not presently subject to criminal penalties; however, marijuana cultivation and sale are classified as criminal offenses.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.