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  1. The Brookings Institute released a comprehensive report on Marijuana legalization in Uruguay in March. In the report the researchers detail how well the program has worked and why the limitations placed upon legalization have only backfired against the country. The implementation of legalization in Uruguay has directly mirrored the implementation of medical marijuana here in Michigan. With local police forces ignoring and treating marijuana as if it were still illegal in many cases, while the state licenses and regulates the market. Timeline of legalization in Uruguay The report made the following recommendations:
  2. There can't be a better way to start a video than with the line: "I'm smoking weed with the president of Uruguay on his farm outside of Montevideo," as the video pans to President José "Pepe" Mujica actually sitting right next to VICE correspondent Krishna Andavolu smoking a joint.
  3. Uruguay To Give Medicinal Marijuana To Prisoners (MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay) — Prisoners in the jails of Uruguay will be able to use marijuana if a doctor says it will benefit their health. Uruguay’s drug czar Julio Calzada told The Associated Press on Tuesday that any inmates with doctors’ orders will be prescribed marijuana to their improve physical or mental health. Meanwhile, social development minister Daniel Olesker told a medical marijuana symposium in Montevideo that medicinal pot will be incorporated into the country’s public health system, alongside acupuncture and homeopathic remedies. Calzada says his agency needs two more weeks to complete the regulations for the government’s legal marijuana market, which he now expects to issue between April 20 and 25. He says the actual rollout won’t be until the end of the year. http://time.com/54362/uruguay-to-give-medicinal-marijuana-to-prisoners/
  4. International Watchdog Group Challenges Uruguay’s New Marijuana Law The International Narcotics Control Board is challenging Uruguay’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana, claiming it conflicts with the 1961 Single Convention of Narcotic Drugs, of which Uruguay is a member. The convention aims to limit the possession, use, distribution, and production of any drug to medical and scientific purposes only. “Cannabis is controlled under the 1961 Convention, which requires State Parties to limit its use to medical and scientific purposes, due to its dependence-producing potential,” said INCB president Raymond Yans. The INCB is an independent international agency that monitors the enforcement of UN drug treaties. According to the organization, Uruguay’s move to legalize marijuana is focused solely on reducing crime, while ignoring the potential public health issues that recreational marijuana could create. The decision “will not protect young people but rather have the perverse effect of encouraging early experimentation, lowering the age of first use, and thus contributing to developmental problems and earlier onset of addiction and other disorders,” Yans said. “The Board regrets that the Government of Uruguay did not respond to INCB to engage in a dialogue prior to further consideration of the law,” the statement said. “INCB reiterates its call to the Government of Uruguay to engage with the Board to ensure that Uruguay continues to respect and implement the treaties to which it is a party.” [Source]
  5. PRESS RELEASE | 12/02/2013 Uruguayan Senate to Vote Next Week on President Mujica’s Bill to Tax and Regulate Marijuana Next week, the Uruguayan Senate will vote on a bill that would make their country the first in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults. The bill was approved in the House of Representatives in July with 50 out of 96 votes. The Senate vote will most likely take place on Tuesday, December 10. Once approved in Senate, Uruguay will have 120 days to write the regulations before implementing the law. The marijuana legalization proposal was put forward by President José Mujica in June 2012 as part of a comprehensive package aimed at fighting crime and public insecurity. After a year and a half of studying the issue, engaging in political debate, redrafting the bill, and the emergence of a public campaign in favor of the proposal, Uruguay’s parliament is set to approve the measure this year. “It’s about time that we see a country bravely break with the failed prohibitionist model and try an innovative, more compassionate, and smarter approach. By approving this measure, Uruguay will represent a concrete advance in line with growing opposition to the drug war in Latin America and throughout the world,” said Hannah Hetzer, who is based out of Montevideo, Uruguay, as the Policy Manager of the Americas for the Drug Policy Alliance. The Uruguayan proposal has also gained attention abroad over the past year, as momentum has built throughout the U.S., Latin America and elsewhere for broad drug policy reforms. In November 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first political jurisdictions anywhere in the world to approve the legal regulation of marijuana. In August, the White House announced that the federal government will not interfere with state marijuana laws – as long as a number of stipulations are adhered to, such as preventing distribution to minors. “Last year, Colorado and Washington; this year, Uruguay; and next year, Oregon and hopefully more states as well,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “We still have a long way to go but who would have believed, just five years ago, that legalizing marijuana would have become a mainstream political reality both in the United States and abroad?!” The Uruguayan bill allows four forms of access to marijuana: medical marijuana through the Ministry of Public Health, domestic cultivation of 6 plants, membership clubs similar to those found in Spain, and licensed sale in pharmacies. It also prohibits sales to minors, driving under the influence, and all forms of advertising. In the year since Mujica’s announced his proposal, support for the initiative has risen among diverse sectors of Uruguayan society. A national TV ad campaign, featuring a mother, a doctor, and a lawyer explaining the measure's benefits on public safety and health – has reached hundreds of thousands of Uruguayans. Regulación Responsable (“Responsible Regulation”), the coalition of prominent Uruguayan organizations and individuals that support the initiative, has held events around the country, sparking debate at all levels. LGBT, women’s rights, health, student, environmental and human rights organizations have all united to support Regulación Responsable, alongside trade unions, doctors, musicians, lawyers, athletes, writers, actors and academics. “This is a truly diverse movement comprised of people who believe that marijuana reform will benefit all of Uruguayan society,” said Hetzer. In mid-July, the former president of Brazil and chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, publicly praised Uruguay in an op-ed published throughout the region. A week later, Uruguayan members of Congress received a letter of support signed by 65 Mexican legislators, congratulating their “leadership” in promoting “better drug policies and laws.” And the week before the House vote, these Uruguayan members of Congress received a second letter of support signed by more than 100 organizations worldwide, celebrating “the immense contribution and comprehensive proposal to deal with the implications that drugs have on health, development, security and human rights.” In recent years, debate and political will for drug policy reform has gained unprecedented momentum in Latin America. In 2011, Kofi Annan, Paul Volcker and Richard Branson joined former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), César Gaviria (Colombia) and Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico) and other distinguished members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy in saying the time had come to “break the taboo” on exploring alternatives to the failed war on drugs – and to “encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs,” especially marijuana. More recently, current presidents Juan Manuel Santos in Colombia, Otto Perez Molina in Guatemala, and José Mujica in Uruguay have joined these calls for reform. In May, the Organization of American States produced a report, commissioned by heads of state of the region, that included marijuana legalization as a likely policy alternative. The OAS report predicted a likely hemispheric move towards marijuana legalization in the coming years. Mujica and this growing chorus of current and former Latin American political leaders are contending that legal regulation will separate marijuana users from the offer of more dangerous drugs on the black market, allow access to medical marijuana for patients in need, and enable Uruguay to reinvest the millions of dollars now flowing into the pockets of drug traffickers into education, treatment and prevention of problematic drug use. http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/2013/...lize-marijuana
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