Uruguay made a bold move today in cannabis law reform. A group of the ruling party’s lawmakers introduced a bill to the Uruguayan Congress today that asks to legalize the sales of marijuana. The bill is intended to cut down on crime in the country by taking the profit margins out of black market marijuana sales and also to divert users of harder drugs.
The law would allow the sale of marijuana, but only by the Uruguay government and only to adults who are registered as cannabis users. It is a system that might look a bit like the one in Spain, where you can register as a cannabis user, then join a collective to buy your marijuana, except in the Uruguayan measure, if passed, you would purchase joints from a certified retailer, according to Uruguay newspapers.
There are no current laws that outlaw marijuana use in the South American country and it is up to a judge’s discretion if police find you with an amount that is for personal use or enough to be guilty of marijuana sales. There is a provision in the bill for people who are identified as purchasing more than than a set limit of marijuana cigarettes every month; they will be asked to complete a drug awareness program run with money from the taxation of the marijuana.
The bill has a long way to go, but may become part of a sweeping set of reforms all aimed at crime reduction since the country has recently seen a surge in crime and homicide rates.