Tomorrow: Will Uruguay Be First Country To Legalize Marijuana?

[Update: House of Representatives have in fact moved the cannabis legalization legislation on to the supportive senate for likely passage. More to come!]

As soon as tomorrow afternoon votes are expected in the Uruguayan House of Representatives which will cast the country into the lead to become the first country to official end cannabis prohibition.

The country’s president, José Mujica, and the ruling party in the Uruguayan Senate, Frente Ampli, are also public supporters of replacing cannabis prohibition with a state monopoly on cannabis commerce.

Since President Mujica’s public support for legalization was made public in Uruguay last year, a concerted effort to reform the country’s cannabis laws has been underway featuring national TV ad campaigns: with well produced ads featuring mothers, doctors and lawyers.

For more info about efforts to legalize cannabis in Uruguay, contact the Drug Policy Alliance coordinator for South American, Hannah Hetzer: +59891855163

[Paul Armentano updates: Uruguay’s lower house late Wednesday night voted 50 to 46 in favor the bill, sending it to the Senate which is also expected to endorse the measure. Read the full story from the New York Times here.]

46 thoughts

  1. Come on Uruguay, show the world the way.

    This time, ironically, if what I read last week was correct, it’s the politicians who are ahead of the people on this issue: a poll showed the majority of Uruguayan citizens opposing legalization, and the country’s president and senate for it! A strange world we live in. But I’ll take legalization either way.

  2. WOW!!!
    If they can do this it will not take long for it to become obvious that the sky will not fall.
    Once we have an undeniable precedent, other nations will begin to follow.
    Prohibition is about to fall like a Berlin Wall.

  3. Marijuana is already legal in N. korea and Iran among others. Uruguay is not the first but way to go amigos!!

  4. Folks, a state run monopoly on marijuana is still a corrupt, retarded model. Licensed growers or just personal grow amounts for individuals are all that is needed. Why this layer of government control on the sales end? Seems like a very bad idea–as though they want it to fail!?

    Turning the government into “drug dealers” is not what marijuana is about nor should it be.

    What am I missing that might make this a good idea?

  5. A Part of the law says that Uruguay will not become a Marijuana Tourist haven.. since only people native to Uruguay will be able to purchase herb.

  6. It’s worth to saying that president JOSE MUJICA is the poorest president in all the world.Consequently the most honest,and human.God bless MUJICA

  7. It’s worth to saying that president JOSE MUJICA is the poorest president in all the world.Consequently the most honest,and human.God bless MUJICA

  8. Wonderful news. About time that the world bucks up to the big mafia cartel: the U.S. DOJ. Much better than reading the Danny Chong story:
    A 4.1 million dollar settlement is just a sneeze in the bucket for the DEA with all the assets they seize worldwide. I still think Danny should have sued the DEA not based on collateral damage but for being unconstitutionally organized under the Controlled Substance Act by allowing an executive agency to legislate our drug policy.The Supreme Court is pro-cannabis. He could have turned the C.S.Act over. I mean, he had the DEA apologizing for planting METH on the concrete bench before leaving him without food or water for 4 1/2 days! Clearly, the DEA and CIA are more interested in asset forfeitures than cleaning up their act, much less protecting our citizens.
    Asset forfeitures goes deep into foreign countries as well, and it’s becoming more obvious to the public every day: to the defiance of political denial. President Obama made a condemning remark over the “drug wars” in his Trayvon Martin speech a couple of weeks ago; the first of its kind since Nixon signed the C.S.Act. The Organization of American States has already issued a statement that Latin America will be ending prohibition “whether the U.S. and Europe like it or not.” That, and the fact that the ATF was caught selling guns to conflicting sides a few years back in the Fast and Furious scandal using “tracer programs” is why the DEA has already been kicked out of Mexico. It’s about time to see the first Latin-American country to make a good example for the rest of us and stand up to this tyranny.
    Instead of spending more on drug prevention and treatment, more is spent on drug enforcement and interdiction: 1.5 billion on international drug enforcement alone in this year’s drug budget. That’s more than Boehner can shake a stick at for the 1.3 billion we spend on the Egyptian government after a military takeover. How about 40 years of a Department of Justice take over of our foreign policy? How about dragging America’s name through the dirt or destroying our diplomatic relations with the fastest growing economies in South America? How about the DEA dressing up as local police and raiding people’s homes like they got caught doing in Honduras?
    Congress wants to cut budgets and create jobs without spending a dime?
    1)How about cutting the corn subsidies for cellulose ethanol and grow hemp for ethanol which requires less of our depleting water? 2)How about cutting the funding for private companies like Haliburton and Booz-Hamilton that tread the planet looking for (or inventing) “credible threats to national security,” so the DOJ can drag us into another war? As long as the CIA or DEA can seize assets overseas, Congress has no oversight into the drug budget. It’s just an envelope across the table: and all we have left to fight back as citizens in to donate to NORML.
    3) How about cutting the trillions we’ve already spent in Afghanistan? After 12 years there’s more heroin coming out of that region than when we began the war! After all that we could have negotiated with the Taliban to PREVENT the war! If the point of that war wasn’t to protect the opium trade (See Frontline’s documentary on poppy farmers) …we could have replaced the poppy fields with hemp and invested in Afghan rugs, minerals and infrastructure and ended the war before it began. Instead, the DEA “eradicated” the poppy fields conveniently around harvest time, leaving the poor desperate farmers to plant somewhere else to pursue but never attain the fleeting illusion of retrieving their ransomed daughters from the Taliban. Haliburton cleans up the State Department contracts for the war they helped create. The Defense Department is kept in the dark by the DOJ. And the cycle begins again.
    Uruguay will make a model example for the rest of Latin America. The world recognizes what a mockery of justice our U.S. Justice Department has become. It’s time for us to take the power back and end the violence of silence that has surrounded these made-to-fail drug wars. Let’s donate to NORML and put the end of prohibition on the ballot for 2014 and 2016.

  9. @Evening Bud – I would be against it too:

    “…replacing cannabis prohibition with a state monopoly on cannabis commerce.”

    I don’t want to smoke gov’t weed. State monopolies are never good, look at the USPS and state run liquor stores in states like PA. Give us the freedom to grow our own, the rest will work itself out.

  10. Correction; should have put government monopolies. I realize the USPS is a federal agency.

  11. I’m happy for Uraguay but am very sad for America. Isn’t it sad that the Land of the Free isn’t?

    Fat drunken chain-smoking politicians (John Boehner, etc…) have decided that marijuana users should be locked up in their private prisons. For them, it is all about money.

  12. Guys, I’m from Uruguay.. In case of approval this law will allow Uruguayan natives AND legal residents to bought up to 40grs every month in drugstores (previous registration required). Also allows to grow up to 6 plants for personal use and the creation of pot clubs with membership from 15 to 45 people.
    Not everything is about money down here.

  13. @ King Kobra,

    I’ll take state-run MJ any day. Do you not drive on city streets because they were built by the govt? You don’t drink tap water cuz it’s provided by the govt? BTW, most monopolies are bad–govt AND private.

  14. Fingers crossed Uruguay. I am hoping for a domino effect once a precedent is set!
    As for America being the “Land of the Free”, I think that only applys to Republican gun lobbyists 🙂

  15. Hi Santiago, that sounds a lot better than what tends to be discussed on TV here… Private people and groups allowed to grow their marijuana without having to talk to someone probably connected to some sort of mafia is exactly where all reform efforts should focus–short circut the money away from criminals and into the hands of those actually growing it. This should lower the price and the money flow is no longer used to damage society by empowering evil people.

  16. There you go folks, a sitting president of an South American country standing up for legalization. Thank you President Mujica.

  17. Good going Uruguay!! 🙂 I Hope this make’s other countries follow to the better future 😀

  18. Lawmakers in Uruguay Vote to Legalize Marijuana

    “This vote is destined to have a big impact, with regional and even global repercussions for drug policy,” said John Walsh, an analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group. “Uruguay’s timing is right. Because of last year’s Colorado and Washington State votes to legalize, the U.S. government is in no position to browbeat Uruguay or others who may follow.”

  19. I really admire the Uruguayan President for his foresight.I hope the Jamaican government follow his example. In fact they would have it easier because the majority of the populace is for the legalization. Thanks President Mujica.

  20. This is even bigger than Washington and Colorado, although truly they were the first two dominos to fall. I loved reading all the 99% positive comments. Thanks President Mujica and thanks for showing the world what to do after decades of DEA terrorism of pot smokers.

  21. This is awesome!

    Everyone who says its bad because they don’t want the gov’t running it is frickin stupid. It has to start somewhere and its better than it being completely illegal. I can’t believe people think that way. The same with all this nonsense of medical marijuana companies not wanting it to be legal. You can go suck it. Greedy bastards selling out their fellow heads.

    Sorry those comments really piss me off….

  22. @king kobra
    I don’t understand how you could possibly see USPS as a monopoly. UPS, FedEx, DHL, OnTrac, GSO – just to name a few places where your are welcome to ship whatever you please.

  23. It does not matter if they do it just to make a profit. It does matter very much. Uruguay is one of the most down to earth farming nations using natural methods before they were cool.

  24. Legal residency in Uruguay is obtainable with proof of monthly income, an address in Uruguay (rental or owned), and a birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), certificate of good behavior from original country, papanicolaou health exam (for women 21 and older), mammography health exam (for women 40 and older) and 4 pictures and 400 Euros. They will then issue you a cedula (residency card from Uruguayan authorities)which is good for 3 yrs and can be renewed with another fee, but less red tape. Enjoy!

  25. It’s all about the money and where it goes.

    I traveled extensively in Colombia, South America in the 1970’s, and very
    early 80’s. My reason for being there: to buy the best marijuana I could
    find for shipment to the United States.

    The people I dealt with were not the killers depicted by our government.
    They were Moms and Pops with families. And some of the nicest, most
    honorable people I have ever met.

    This is not a war ‘against’ drugs. This is a war for ‘control’ of the
    And the involved governments’ only concerns are, ‘Who gets the money.’

    Once these products are legalized, we can all live in peace. The quality of
    the product will determine its market.

    Just like lettuce and tomatoes.

    I spent 5 years in Federal Prison for my escapades involving marijuana.
    I wrote about them in: Shoulda Robbed a Bank

  26. @Nathaniel
    Portugal is well for for across the board, decriminalization. There’s a big difference between legal recreational use, and decriminalization.

  27. I haven’t seen an update. Has this law been signed by the President as yet? Last I heard the Uruguay Senate was going to vote on it, so if anyone has any current news please post it here. Thanks.

    [Paul Armentano responds: Senate vote not likely until the fall.]

  28. We now have 20 States that have legalized Medical Marijuana. We need only 6 more to have a majority of states in favor. Once that happens we can have a vote in Congress to get cannabis off Schedule 1 since we will then have always the votes needed. Does anyone know if we now have at least 6 more States that have Medical Marijuna referendums
    or bills before their legislatures? If so which are they.

  29. are you kidding? uruguayan here, i went down there back in 2014, and no marijuana to be found. no one sold or smoked. this confuses me.

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