Uruguay Defends Legalization at United Nations
June 29th, 2015
Policy, Top News
The President of Uruguay’s National Drug Board presented a report before the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights defending the country’s legalization of marijuana on Thursday, June 26th. In the address, Juan Andres Roballo urged the international body to discuss the topic “without taboos” and consider different viewpoints.
The UN claims that Uruguay’s legalization program is “incompatible with what is stipulated in the 1961 Convention”, an international treaty limiting the production, manufacture, export, import, and distribution of different types of narcotics. Last year, the organization criticized the country suggesting that its policies could have a negative effect on its neighboring countries and their abilities to control the substance within their borders.
Uruguay’s leadership argues that the repressive anti-drug policies adopted prior to the law were “more dangerous than the drug itself” and pointed out that they were “upholding the ultimate goal of these treaties, which explicitly say they seek to improve humankind’s health and wellbeing”. The government believes that drug use is a public health issue that has been wrongly criminalized in the past and is deserving of new approaches.
Currently, Uruguay’s program requires each customer to register with a database run by the Ministry of Health. These customers will be restricted to buying 40 grams per month at a price of $1 per gram, which is close to the street price of illegal marijuana imported from Paraguay. Private citizens are also permitted to cultivate up to six plants in their house and can form private grow clubs that produce significantly more of the substance.
So far, the program has been largely a success, although the federal government is still working to get the program completely up and running.
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