Uruguay Officially Embraces a Regulated Marijuana Market
Uruguay officially embraces a regulated marijuana market within the country with no repercussions. The consensus of the politicians who pushed for this change was that legalising cannabis would help to diminish drug cartels and cease the violence associated with drug trafficking. Groups of people who supported the law gathered around to celebrate Uruguay’s “cultivation of freedom.” December 10, 2013 goes down in history as the monumental moment that the world made a major breakthrough with regulating drugs. The new legislation allows consumers in Uruguay to purchase up to 40 grams of cannabis per month from licensed pharmacies. The only requirements for those purchasers is that they are over 18 years of age, and they agree to register for a database, which monitors their monthly purchases. As far as growing the ganja, residents will be allowed to grow up to six of their own plants in their homes, as long as the amount does not exceed 480 grams. Residents may also form cannabis-smoking alliances of up to 45 members. The rest of the world is excited to see the progress that Uruguay makes as a country with these new changes. The changes will most likely not take effect until April of 2014, but the celebration started upon notification of the new laws.
Positive Stance on Marijuana
Cannabis is noted for having a number of positive effects when it comes to health. Studies have shown that patients with mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder respond well to adding cannabis to their cocktail of medications. The users stated that cannabis helped them to remain calm and maintain focus. Marijuana has also been highly noted for relieving the symptoms of glaucoma and other illnesses. Patients have stated that cannabis eliminated or masked their pain to an acceptable or unnoticeable level. It seems logical that most countries would want to help their citizens to feel better. Legalizing cannabis would provide relief to a wealth of people. As for recreational use, the regulated market speaks volumes for Uruguay residents. The regulated allowance of cannabis smoking, growing, and purchasing gives the residents a feeling of freedom that they did not have before. Citizens can now literally hold their heads up high and feel proud to live in the country. Cannabis is less dangerous than alcohol in many aspects. While millions of citizens are charged with battery and disorderly conduct under the influence of alcohol, hardly any cause a nuisance under the influence of marijuana. Additionally, people who operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana are much less likely to get in an automobile accident than people who drink. The risk decrease is an enticing reason for a country to think twice about legalizing it. The more people smoke marijuana, the less likely they are to drink.
A majority of people believes that the Netherlands has an open and liberal policy on cannabis. Recreational cannabis users often boast that they wish to visit the Netherlands because of its tolerance. In actuality, the Netherlands does not have a legislation that permits the use or sale of cannabis. In fact, selling cannabis is a criminal offense in the Netherlands. The loophole around that law is through coffee shops. Coffee shops are allowed the privilege of selling cannabis in the shops, as long as the amount is less than 5 grams. Cannabis is viewed as a soft drug according to Dutch policies. The owners of the Dutch shops may not advertise drugs or sell any drugs to minors. Additionally, they must not sell alcoholic beverages or large quantities of cannabis. Strict guidelines apply to this policy. Therefore, the Netherlands is not by any means, a country that is free flowing with its tolerance for cannabis. Those who believe that the Netherlands openly accepts cannabis use and distribution are mistaken.
Opposition through the United Nations
In a press release from the U.N. it was stated that the “decision by the Uruguayan parliament to legalize cannabis is a strike against international cooperation”. Also in the U.S. certain progressive states such as Washington and Colorado are attempting to legalise the recreational use of marijuana for their residents. The U.N. is opposing this idea, stating that legalisation of marijuana would violate some of the policies within the international laws. The specific laws this decision would violate is the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. Each time a state make moves to legalize the drug, the government fights back with stiff opposition. In fact, the attorney general announced that despite any legal changes within individual states, the government will still view marijuana as an illegal substance, and no parties may use it, sell it or cultivate it.
All Eyes on Uruguay
Every country in the world currently has its eyes on Uruguay’s new legislation. They will be watching closely to see how this free spirit model works. They are curious to see if the new freedoms and good spirits last, and the issues with drug trafficking do resolve because of the new laws. If the new legislation affects Uruguay in a positive fashion, other countries will jump on the weed bandwagon and follow suit. The Netherlands may be one of the first countries to change its tolerance policy to a total acceptance policy, or perhaps, the United States will lighten up and allow its citizens to indulge. Currently, it seems as if the fate of international open mindedness is in the hands of a single country. (Images courtesy of Occupy.com)