Uruguay’s President Rose Mujica signs Marijuana Legalization Bill
|Headline Centre: Legalization|
Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica has signed a bill, legalizing the cultivation and recreational use of marijuana. Mujica signed the bill into law after the Senate adopted the bill on Monday 14 December. Mujica brushed off harsh criticism from the UN’s INCB chief Raymond Yans, who had accused Mujica of not consulting with him first. An accusation President Mujica responded to by saying that the old man should stop lying and accusations of double standards. On 14 December, the Uruguayan Senate adopted a bill that legalizes the cultivation and recreational use of marijuana, limiting the cultivation to six plants per family, and the commercial sale of marijuana to 42 gram per month for registered users. The amount may be adjusted later, as the government gathers insights into the market dynamics, now that there is a legal market. INCB chief Yans has blasted President Jose Mujica after Uruguay’s Senate signed the bill that makes Uruguay the world’s first country to break the UN imposed ban on the cultivation and sales of marijuana, including for recreational use, calling it a surprising move and claiming that Uruguay had not first consulted with the UN organization first. On Friday, 12 December, President Jose Mujica appeared on Uruguay’s TV Channel 4 and rejected the INCB chiefs accusations, saying that he is ready to discuss the law with anyone, adding: “Tell that old man to stop lying. … Let him come to Uruguay and meet me whenever he wishes. … Anybody can meet me and talk with me, and whoever says he couldn’t meet with me tells blatant lies. … Because he sits in a comfortable international platform, he believes he can say whatever nonsense”. Mujica stressed among others, that he signed the bill in order to remove the revenue from the illegal market away from criminal organizations and networks. The black market price per gram is about USD 1.40. Mujica continued blasting the INCB chief, stressing that Yans didn’t say as much as a single word when the US States of Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, asking: “Does he have different rules ? One for Uruguay and one for the world’s strong countries ? President Jose Mujica has not only political support but family support for his decision. His wife, Uruguay’s first lady Lucia Topolansky, who also is a member of Uruguay’s Senate, backed her presidential husband, saying: “Who is this fellow who likes to call names (insult) countries ? .. I think he has crossed the line, but anyhow, I believe that he has problems with other countries, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and they will be meeting him sometime in March. … But to be honest, marijuana is not the heart of life of earthly issues”. Uruguay’s former president and oncologist, and currently pre-candidate for next year’s presidential election, Tabare Vazquez, supported Mujica and the legalization of cannabis, saying that this method is far more effective than to combat drugs and the narcotics trade than the path of confrontation and violence.