Monday, February 28, 2011

Uruguay MPs consider decriminalizing marijuana

In recent years the Uruguayan government has cracked down on smoking (much to the chagrin of one major tobacco firm). The latest debate, however, involves a different type of drug.

Political support has reportedly been growing in favor of decriminalizing the use of marijuana. Legislator Sebastián Sabini told the local press that he would introduce a bill this week that would allow individuals to legally have 25 grams of marijuana for personal use.

Sabini’s plan differs from an already circulating proposal that would legalize some marijuana use but does not increase prison time for convicted drug users. Nevertheless he is expected to meet on Tuesday with other deputies in order to reconcile the bills and garner greater legislative support.

The government has yet to give a formal public reaction to the marijuana decriminalizing plans though one official at the President’s office implied that it could be done. Officials would have to examine any attempt at legalizing marijuana use such as not breaking international treaties according to Diego Cánepa.

In the meantime, the current statutes on marijuana served as a source of ire for several dozen demonstrators last week:
On Thursday, demonstrators at the Supreme Court in Montevideo protested the criminalization of marijuana possession. Under the slogan, “No más presos por plantar" (No more prisoners for plants) supporters of the Movement for the Liberation of Cannabis protested the arrest of an Uruguayan artisan and of Alicia Castilla, the Argentine author of Cultura cannabis. Both were arrested for being in possession of marijuana in their residencies.
Image- EPA (“Uruguayan marijuana growers advocate for the decriminalization of their practice.”)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Observa,, El Pais, Americas Quarterly Blog

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