Legalisation of Marijuana in Uruguay

October 8, 2013 12:17 pm

The Uruguayan government believe that selling Marijuana through pharmacies around the country will not only monitor the usage but will enable them to maintain some form of control on the situation of drug trafficking in the country.

Uruguay-legalize-marijuanaIt seems as though this subject is a continuation of something sparked years ago since Marijuana is a drug commonly used for the last 20 or more years.

According to government estimates there are some 180,000 consumers (roughly 5.5% of the population) and approximately 3,000 inmates serving sentences for drug trafficking. Instead of the government trying to increase the severity of prison sentences to ensure people feel threatened when doing or dealing in this drug they have taken another approach, one quite drastic and bold.

President Jose Mujica believes that “If we legalize it, we think that we will spoil the market (for drug traffickers) because we are going to sell it for cheaper than it is sold on the black market.” This is a great way to control sales but the idea of keeping people on a list will put individuals off as they now “are going to have people identified”, not only this but on the black market they can get more than from the governments rations.

A lot of support for this law has come from left wing parties who have said it will “fight criminal drug trafficking” and could “influence other Latin American nations to take a similar approach.”

However not everyone believes in the success of this bill. The National Party and The Independent Party announced the refusal to the project, and they are not the only ones. “Conservative critics of the measure have said it promotes drug addiction” and in some ways they are right. With the mentality that since a fifth of the population of Uruguay is doing it, they may as well legalise it and accept that people are doing it. Is this the first step in what the future law making process will be like? Are the government going to cave in regards to underage drinking and since many teenagers drink underage allowing the age to buy alcohol to be lowered?


The bill is showing lack of support with the public, with results of a survey in Teledoce showing that 63% of the population were actually against legalizing Marijuana. Even when looking at how the Chamber of Deputies voted with 50 votes in favour and 49 against, too small a percentage different to say the voting was heavily one sided.

Uruguayan politician Dario Perez was accurate when commenting “Marijuana is a dung, is the enemy of the student, the worker, of life…it will continue to happen in spite of us, with or without law.” It’s being done illegally with people risking years in prison to get it, they will clearly continue in their ways despite these new laws coming into place. Drug buying will still be done illegally even more so, as people will not want to be recorded on a register which the government have access to.

José Miguel Insulza the Secretary General of the Organization of American States stated that he believes this is something “worth trying” which sounds very juvenile, like they are unable to produce a better idea of how to deal with the situation occurring. Surely the individuals this bill will affect in day to day life should have the final say considering they are the ones who have to live with it.


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