Washington, D.C.—Uruguay’s House of Representatives is expected to vote as soon as tomorrow on a bill that would legalize and regulate the country’s marijuana market. House passage would signify a major step forward for the country’s landmark marijuana policy reform. The bill would then head for debate in the Senate, where approval is considered likely, and then to the desk of President José Mujica, who has supported the initiative from the start.
Uruguay’s proposal is as carefully crafted as it is bold, and has garnered the support of respected international figures such as former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, as well as a green light from the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza. If Uruguay ultimately approves the measure, the country would provide company for the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington, which approved ballot initiatives to legalize and regulate marijuana on Election Day in November 2012.
“Like the voters in Colorado and Washington, Uruguay’s leaders are rejecting the false equation between marijuana prohibition and marijuana control, opting for a framework that aims to take a lucrative market out of criminal hands and put it within the regulatory control of the state,” said John Walsh, a drug policy expert at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). “This departure from the status quo offers tremendous opportunities to improve our management of drug markets—minimizing the harms that drugs can cause, but also reducing the enormous damage generated by drug control policies themselves.”
For more analysis of Uruguay’s proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana and the upcoming vote, please contact:
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