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Uruguay Sets a Global Precedent with Marijuana Legalization

Image courtesy of Huffington Post

While many Western governments have moved in recent years to at least decriminalize marijuana or permit it to be used for medicinal purposes, Uruguay recently took a bold and unprecedented step: The country’s legislature passed sweeping legislation to legalize marijuana and regulate both the cultivation and sale of the plant. It's a bold step, welcomed by a growing number of people both within Uruguay and around the world. As with any bold step, however, the government has attached quite a few considerations and requirements concerning sale, purchase, and use of marijuana after legalization takes effect.

Regulation is Key to Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay

According to Hanf Journal.de, Uruguay's legalization of marijuana will be subject to government regulation, oversight, and controls. First and foremost, the law sets up the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis as the official regulatory body for marijuana sale and purchase. Under the authority of the Institute, all marijuana would be sold strictly at pharmacies, with buyers able to register in advance for their purchase. The government would permit a 40-ounce sale maximum per transaction, for which the price would be $1 per ounce.

Subject to Presidential Approval

With regulations and limits in place, the bill as passed by the legislature looks poised to become law. The country's president, José Mujica, already expressed support for the bill while it was being drafted. With an official version of the legislation having been passed, his signature is expected to make its guidelines and frameworks official in just a few days' time. It's a bold move, and one that will likely be watched by the broader international community as debate rages about the dangers, benefits, and role of marijuana in the 21st century.