Join 3,501 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Vamos todos a Uruguay y fumar un porro.
August 1, 2013 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Legalize it.
Uruguay votes to create world's first national legal marijuana market. Proposals likely to become law, leading to innovative policies at odds with the 'war on drugs' philosophy.
The legalization of pot in Uruguay might embolden other Latin American governments to consider similar measures. Under Mr. Mujica, 78, an outspoken former guerrilla, Uruguay has emerged as a laboratory for socially liberal policies. A small nation of 3.3 million people, the country has also enacted a groundbreaking abortion rights law, moved to legalize same-sex marriage and is seeking to become a center for renewable energy ventures.
posted by adamvasco (24 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's pretty neat how smaller states are more daring like this. Will be watching with some interest.
posted by psoas at 9:29 AM on August 1, 2013


I thought the (or at least a) reason why various countries have "decriminalized" rather than "legalized" was because there was some sort of huge international treaty preventing them from legalizing. Am I wrong, or is Uruguay not a signatory, or are they just ignoring it?
posted by Flunkie at 9:37 AM on August 1, 2013


Good on them for trying to do sensible things to move forward instead of just mindlessly carrying on with business as usual.

Apparently, the UN is already wagging its finger and narrowing its eyes at Uruguay over this. I'd keep an eye out for outside parties (both governmental and criminal) deliberately trying to undermine the success of these policies, though, as they threaten to upset a lot of other people's applecarts if demonstrably successful.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:38 AM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


*Sigh*

That could've been us. Instead we've been backsliding.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:38 AM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


some sort of huge international treaty preventing them from legalizing. Am I wrong, or is Uruguay not a signatory, or are they just ignoring it?

The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which requires among other things that
each Party shall adopt such measures as may be necessary to establish as a criminal offence under its domestic law, when committed intentionally, the possession, purchase or cultivation of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances for personal consumption contrary to the provisions of the 1961 Convention, the 1961 Convention as amended or the 1971 Convention.
Uruguay is a signatory. I don't know if this new law would formally renounce all or part of the treaty, or if Uruguay is just ignoring it, or what.
posted by jedicus at 9:41 AM on August 1, 2013


I'm sure we'll find some way to covertly monkeywrench and disruptthere will be problems in the smooth execution of the plan.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:45 AM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good for them. From my experience with state-monopoly liquor stores, though, I'm not sure establishing a government monopoly is the best idea, and having a central registry of all the users seems like it could backfire if the rich countries get their way and the political winds change back to draconian enforcement. Bound to work better than prohibition though, and I'm willing to forgive a lot of the details of implementation on account of Pepe Mujica looking like the saintly grandfather everybody wishes they had.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:48 AM on August 1, 2013


It's not just finger-wagging. Uruguay has international treaty obligations with respect to the scheduled substances and precursors. It's also a sovereign state, so it's free to to denounce the The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances under the treaty's Article 30, but that would mean that a delay of one year before the withdrawal took effect.

Funny that anyone cares what the Pope has to say on this topic, but I've never understood why the Holy See is given a seat at these discussions to begin with since it doesn't really have to live with the consequences of the policies it promotes. And the Holy See isn't a member of the UN Convention Against blah blah anyway.

This series of treaties has outlived their usefulness anyway, to the point that there's been talk about region-wide denunciation in the EU. The treaties also regulate a list of precursors, some of which are common-as-dirt. But yeah, the regulatory regime that these two treaties purport to create doesn't work, and has never worked.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:59 AM on August 1, 2013


Mojica is the real deal. He's wildly popular. Turns his president's salary over to charity. Drives himself around in an old VW bug and lives off what he makes from the farm he and his wife run. My favorite head of state in the world.
posted by charlesminus at 10:41 AM on August 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


First gay marriage, now pot. Uruguay is officially the Massachusetts of South America,
posted by pxe2000 at 10:50 AM on August 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


... and not a moment too soon, since the US is winding-down in Iraq and Afghanistan and we need a new country to invade.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:56 AM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


And the Holy See isn't a member of the UN Convention Against blah blah anyway.

The Holy See became a signatory of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances on December 20, 1988. It made a reservation with regard to Article 32, which covers dispute resolution, but it signed on to all of the substantive provisions.
posted by jedicus at 11:04 AM on August 1, 2013


It's nice to see my home country mentioned online and it's not that damn The Simpson's joke again.
posted by pibeandres at 11:06 AM on August 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Previously.
posted by VikingSword at 11:20 AM on August 1, 2013


Ultimately it's about access to safe and effective organic medicine that the elites have kept from us for a century. Did you know the US Government since 2003 has had a patent (#6630507) on Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.

How can they possibly say that cannabis has no medicinal qualities while at the same time they hold a patent that describes in great detail so many of the proven medicinal qualities that actually DO exist in cannabis?
posted by NakedShorted at 11:58 AM on August 1, 2013


The U.S. Government is large; it contains multitudes.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:00 PM on August 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, certain parts of it are really large and getting bigger. Weirdly, the parts we aren't allowed to see seem to be growing at a much faster pace than the ones we are--especially those parts that lots of people actually took to the streets and fought to establish. Most of those seem to be shrinking at an even quicker pace.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:45 PM on August 1, 2013


Portugal did this 12 years ago. They still have a sky.

Interestingly, my own New Zealand is sidling up to a sensible drug policy by regulating 'legal highs', such as artificial (but very effective) cannabinoids. They've set up a regime where people selling legal drugs have to prove they are safe on health grounds, at their own expense. In the interim they can be sold in specialist shops.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:39 PM on August 1, 2013


What Uruguay is doing is substantially beyond what Portugal did. Portugal decriminalized personal possession of drugs - so it's still illegal, but not criminal. They made some other changes, and they are absolutely a model of better drug policy (I talk about them all the time) but Uruguay is several steps beyond that. Uruguay will be a completely legal system, from production to use, for marijuana. It's really big news. It hasn't passed the Senate yet, but it very likely will.

And yes, what New Zealand did is also really, truly groundbreaking in its own way. A whole new approach to regulating (some) drugs. It's a fascinating experiment and I'm really hoping that it succeeds. It's essentially putting the synthetic drugs through an approval process akin to what the FDA does here in the States.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:04 PM on August 1, 2013


Interestingly, my own New Zealand is sidling up to a sensible drug policy by regulating 'legal highs', such as artificial (but very effective) cannabinoids.

Coincidentally, I realized I had joined the ranks of The Old when I saw one of these public service announcements on the DC Metro and had simply no idea what it was warning us about.
posted by psoas at 5:51 PM on August 1, 2013


I seem to recall that at one point, Uruguay had a "legalization" proposal that would allow users to register with the government, in order to be able to purchase their cannabis from the government...anybody know if this is the same plan?
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 9:44 PM on August 1, 2013


It's nice to see my home country mentioned online and it's not that damn The Simpson's joke again.

Well, this is still about us doing things our guay, so...
posted by Fermin at 6:36 AM on August 2, 2013


What Legalizing Pot In Uruguay Means For the World
posted by gingerbeer at 10:48 AM on August 2, 2013


Why I changed my mind on weed by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled "Why I would Vote No on Pot."

Well, I am here to apologize.

I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.
[...]
We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.
posted by Justinian at 1:19 PM on August 8, 2013


« Older The story behind the classic game, Oregon Trail....  |  Maalin told The Boston Globe i... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments