Take Part: Uruguay’s ongoing legalization of cannabis

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Uruguay made global headlines earlier this year when recreational cannabis became available in licensed pharmacies all over the country. Although only 26,000 Uruguayan nationals have registered to consume recreational cannabis so far, the country’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) estimated that a potential 147,000 users might eventually sign up. The pharmaceutical retail of recreational cannabis came three years after the country became the first in the world to legalize the production, distribution and sale of the drug.

Uruguay’s then-President José Mujica explained his decision in terms of a rejection of the principles of the U.S.-led War on Drugs. In the past two decades, many places the world over started loosening the laws pertaining to the regulation of recreational cannabis. And in the last few decades, public opinion surrounding the recreational use of cannabis has undergone a massive shift in many Western countries: a 2017 Gallup poll showed that 64 percent of Americans were in favour of legalising it, from only 12 percent in 1969.

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This is a story under construction. You’re welcome to TALK about it or EDIT it.

WikiTribune journalist George Engels will be in Uruguay in January to write about the country’s ongoing effort to roll out its cannabis-related policies. He would like to receive your questions, concerns, and story ideas on the subject.

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jeffrey hamilton

"I have not followed Uruguay's policy ..."

George Engels

"Hi Jeffrey, thanks for pointing out t..."

jeffrey hamilton

"Perhaps you need to review a Wikipedi..."

jeffrey hamilton

"Please clarify the order of events an..."

Author

United Kingdom
George (Jorge) Engels is a staff journalist and producer at WikiTribune. He's originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has lived in London for five years. He has a background in history and philosophy and a strong interest in international politics and social affairs, particularly in cases where governments are failing their people. His work has been published by The Sunday Times, The Camden New Journal, The West End Extra and the Islington Tribune.

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  1. Rewrite

    Perhaps you need to review a Wikipedia page

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_cannabis_laws_in_the_United_States

    “The legal history of cannabis in the United States began with state-level prohibition in the early 20th century, with the first major federal limitations occurring in 1937. Starting with Oregon in 1973, individual states began to liberalize cannabis laws through decriminalization. In 1996, California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis, sparking a trend that spread across most other US states. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use.”

    1. Rewrite

      Hi Jeffrey, thanks for pointing out that Colorado and Washington’s legalisation came before Uruguay’s. I’ve amended the article. If I refer to these examples in the stories I am preparing, I will certainly clarify the chronological order. However, the story will be focused on Uruguay’s policies. Have you got any questions/comments about how that came about, or any thoughts on the (seemingly) increasingly general pushback against the war on drugs?

      1. Rewrite

        I have not followed Uruguay’s policy change, only the change in the USA.
        A “reasonable” brief history of the factors that influenced policy change in the US can be found at the link below.

        Why I suggest the essay is reasonable is that is consistent with the observations of sentient individuals who were teenagers in the 1960’s in California.

        https://www.cato-unbound.org/2011/11/30/editors/letter-editors-dont-forget-our-history

  2. Rewrite

    Please clarify the order of events and the first US states that legalized the drug .

    Why not list Colorado & Washington State as first states, California is a late arrival?

    Was Uruguay’s 2013 legalization occur prior to Colorado & Washington States 2012 legalization?

    A Guardian reference you utilize states that Uruguay’s legalization was in December 2013; however, a CATO paper indicates initiatives in Washington State & Colorado passed in 2012, followed by Alaska & Oregon.
    (see links below)

    You state that “Uruguay’s then-President José Mujica explained his decision in terms of a rejection of the principles of the U.S.-led War on Drugs. Since then, many places the world over – including California and Colorado – have started loosening the laws pertaining to the control of cannabis”

    “In November 2012 voters in the states of Colorado and Washington approved ballot initiatives that legalized marijuana for recreational use. Two years later, Alaska and Oregon followed suit. As many as 11 other states may consider similar measures in November 2016, through either ballot initiative or legislative action.”

    https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/dose-reality-effect-state-marijuana-legalizations

    “Uruguay fully legalized the production and sale of marijuana in December 2013 after a decade-long grassroots movement headed by mostly middle-class consumers managed to convince the government it was safer to legally sell weed rather than to allow drug dealers to run the market.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/24/uruguay-legal-marijuana-next-phase-regulation

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