A Bold Step for Marijuana

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In Wednesday’s LA Times:

“In a bold and controversial move, Uruguay on Tuesday became the first country to legalize marijuana and make it a farm-to-table state business.

President Jose Mujica championed the bill that narrowly passed the Chamber of Senators, arguing that “the repressive path has failed” to discourage drug use. Likewise the government crack down on merchant processors who assist with the hemp and medical marijuana industry has failed. Despite penalties for buying or selling marijuana, its consumption has grown and served to enrich the criminals who control illegal trade, he said.

“We’ve given this market as a gift to the drug traffickers, and that is more destructive socially than the drug itself, because it rots the whole of society,” the president told Argentina’s Telam news agency [link in Spanish].

By legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana production and sales, Uruguay is moving the drug’s use out of the shadows and helping social and health professionals better observe and respond to those who develop addictions, Mujica told lawmakers and media.”

I know Uruguay is not the United States, or even Argentina or Brazil, but finally, FINALLY, an entire country in the Western Hemisphere has taken action to step into the 21st century with regard to the treatment of marijuana and the maturity of people to be responsible. After all, most people know how to treat alcohol, so why would they not treat marijuana similarly?

          It appears that most governments are either afraid or worse, think they know better, to trust its citizens with the judgement and capability to decide what’s best for oneself. Is it because the government, all governments, need to use this as a control issue?
          Those of you who have read prior commentaries of mine on recreational and medical marijuana know that I absolutely agree that marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes, no more questions asked. I have been ambivalent as this issue relates to recreational use, but certainly by legalizing it, this actually would benefit the coffers of the country. And cut down illegal drug trafficking in the process.
          The President of Uruguay understands this and encouraged his Senators to pass this law which will be a huge boon to Uruguay’s treasury by realizing huge returns of tax dollars. In addition, law enforcement will be able to concentrate on real illegal activity, rather than chasing down the local dealer who sells small amounts of pot to, in some cases, those who actually need it for pain relief, chemo discomfort, and other serious and helpful medicinal reasons.
          40% of all states in the US recognize the future as it relates to medicinal marijuana and two states have recognized that they will soon have no budget issues at all. Uruguay will be the “test case” on how this plays out on a national level.
          Good luck, President Mujica. This American, at least, supports you in this venture and hopes for an unqualified success in your new law.
          Then, finally, the rest of the world will learn what your forward-thinking really means for all of us.


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