Uruguay Goes All in, First Country to Legalize Entire Marijuana Industry

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Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 10 2013 8:52 PM

Uruguay Goes All in, First Country to Legalize Entire Marijuana Industry

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Uruguay approves of legalization of all aspects of marijuana trade.

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Uruguay’s Senate, on Tuesday, approved the legalization of marijuana in the country—including the growing, sale and smoking—making it the first nation to sanction all aspects of the pot industry. Previously, the use of marijuana was legal in the South American country, but cultivation and sale of the drug were not.

The newly passed, government-backed bill will now provide for government regulation of all aspects of the marijuana trade with an eye on “wresting the business from criminals,” according to Reuters. “The bill gives authorities 120 days to set up a drug control board that will regulate cultivation standards, fix the price and monitor consumption.” Uruguayan president Jose Mujica is a supporter of a legal national market for marijuana, but the measure has yet to win over a majority of the 3-plus million people in the country. A recent poll, Reuters reports, found that 58 percent of Uruguayans are opposed to legalization. 

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Here’s more from Reuters on what the law will look like on the ground once it goes into effect:

Cannabis consumers will be able to buy a maximum of 40 grams (1.4 ounces) each month from licensed pharmacies as long as they are Uruguayan residents over the age of 18 and registered on a government database that will monitor their monthly purchases. When the law is implemented in 120 days, Uruguayans will be able to grow six marijuana plants in their homes a year, or as much as 480 grams (about 17 ounces), and form smoking clubs of 15 to 45 members that can grow up to 99 plants per year. Registered drug users should be able to start buying marijuana over the counter from licensed pharmacies in April.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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