• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

First official state-controlled marijuana trade approved

URUGUAY'S Senate has approved the world's first national marketplace for legal marijuana - an audacious and risky experiment that puts the government in charge of growing, selling and using a drug that is illegal almost everywhere else.

The vote was 16 to 13, with the governing Broad Front majority united in favour. The plan awaits the signature of president Jose Mujica who wants the market to begin operating next year.

Two-thirds of Uruguayans oppose a government-run marijuana industry, according to opinion polls, but Mr Mujica said he is convinced the global drug war is a failure and feels bureaucrats can do a better job of containing addictions and beating organised crime than police, soldiers and prison guards.

Senator Constanza Moreira, voting with the Broad Front majority, said: "Today is a historic day. Many countries of Latin America will take this law as an example."

Uruguay's drug control agency will have 120 days to draft regulations imposing state control over the entire market for marijuana, from seed to smoke.

Everyone involved must be licensed and registered, with government monitors enforcing limits such as the 40 grams a month any adult will be able to buy at pharmacies for any reason or the six marijuana plants that licence-holders will be allowed to grow at home.

Former health minister Alfredo Solari warned the effects of the policy on public health would be terrible.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.