Baietii astia din Uruguay legalizeaza ceva.
Poate am inteles eu prost.
Stirea este aici .
„Uruguay Moves Closer to Legalizing Pot
Lower House Clears the First Law in the Americas Fully Legalizing Marijuana; Senate Approval Is Expected
By KEN PARKS
Uruguay moved closer to becoming the first country in the Americas to fully legalize marijuana on Wednesday, after the lower house voted to regulate the market for pot with a view to deprive drug traffickers of a key source of revenue.
The bill was approved with 50 of the 96 lawmakers present voting in favor late Wednesday after more than 12 hours of debate. The Senate, in which the ruling Frente Amplio leftist coalition has a majority, is expected to approve the measure in August.
While possession of small amounts of pot is legal in Colombia and tolerated in Mexico, Uruguay’s President José Mujica is seeking to bring the marijuana industry out of the shadows. If his bill becomes law, the Uruguayan state would regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for recreational, industrial and medicinal uses.
„If Uruguay passes this bill into law it would be revolutionary,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director at the Drug Policy Alliance, a U.S.-based think tank. „It would be the first national government in the world to regulate cannabis from wholesale production to the end consumer.”
The legalization of pot in Uruguay might embolden other Latin American governments to consider similar measures, he added. Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001, but doesn’t regulate the entire market like Uruguay aims to do with pot.
Wednesday’s vote marks another legislative victory for Mr. Mujica and his progressive social agenda. More than halfway into his five-year term, his coalition has legalized abortion and same-sex marriage.
The bill’s approval was far from assured amid resistance within the Frente Amplio. At least one public opinion poll showed low support. And some 63% of Uruguayans oppose the pot bill, according to a survey published this week by pollster Cifra.
Sen. Jorge Larrañaga, a former presidential candidate for the center right Partido Nacional opposition party, said in a recent opinion column that the pot bill would make Uruguayans guinea pigs for untested social legislation and facilitate drug trafficking.
The legalization initiative comes amid a growing policy debate among Latin American leaders about how to address the violence and corruption associated with the illegal drug trade.
Until now, the so-called war on drugs promoted by the U.S. has emphasized law enforcement to suppress drug production and trafficking across the region.
Critics say that policy has been accompanied by violence in countries where the profitable drugs trade has given rise to powerful criminal gangs. Mexico has seen about 70,000 drug-related killings since the government began a crackdown on cartels, while Colombia’s almost 50-year-old armed conflict has been fueled in part by the sale of illicit drugs. In a move that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, the Organization of American States included the legalization of cannabis among four alternative drug policies in a recent report.
Even in the U.S., where the Obama administration has voiced its commitment to the current set of antidrug policies, marijuana legalization is gaining ground. In the past year, the states of Washington and Colorado legalized the growing, processing and retail sale of pot for recreational use.
The U.S. State Department declined to comment about Uruguay’s pot legislation.
Uruguayan officials have played down the international importance of the bill, which they say is tailored to the needs of a farming country of 3.3 million people who are used to a government presence in their daily lives through a host of social programs and state-run companies.
„Other countries that have different realities, cultures and notions about the state should find their own path,” said Julio Calzada, who heads the National Drugs Secretariat, which coordinates the government´s drug policies.
Sebastian Sabini, the Frente Amplio legislator who heads the lower house drugs committee, said the bill would allow the government to focus resources on more harmful drugs like crack cocaine. The Mujica administration says it hopes the measure will allow legal growers to displace criminals from a market that government estimates put at about 22 tons of marijuana a year worth some $40 million. The government believes that most of that money goes into the hands of drug traffickers selling pot from Paraguay and Brazil.
„We aren’t promoting consumption,” Mr. Sabini told reporters on Wednesday. „The purpose of this bill isn’t tax collection.”
Adults would be allowed to grow up to 480 grams (1.06 pounds) a year of marijuana for personal use, while marijuana clubs of up to 45 people could grow as many as 99 plants. The government would also grant permits for limited commercial production to satisfy the domestic market and license pharmacies to sell pot. People convicted of breaking these laws could face fines of as much as $61,000 and up to 10 years in prison.
By eliminating the risk premium criminals charge for illegal pot, Mr. Calzada of the National Drugs Secretariat says legal producers will be competitive in terms of prices, though he recognized that contraband will continue to exist. He pointed to the cigarette market, in which smuggling accounts for just under 10%.
„What we are proposing is to dispute the 100% of the market that is today in the hands of criminal organizations,” he said. „If I end up with 80% or 90% I practically eliminate the black market. That is the medium-term objective.”
Juan Vaz, a spokesman for Aecu, an organization that promotes the home growing of marijuana, doesn’t think regulation will be a problem for growers. He said consumers will benefit from access to legal, high-quality pot grown in Uruguay.
„Those substances that traditionally have arrived from Paraguay don’t deserve to be called marijuana,” Mr. Vaz added.
-Nicholas Casey contributed to this article
Write to Ken Parks at Ken.Parks@dowjones.com”