Uruguay’s president has been answering his critics over state-sanctioned marijuana sales, a move aimed at undermining drug trafficking in the country.
A new law will allow up to six plants to be grown for personal use. Consumers will be able to buy up to 40 grams a month from licensed pharmacies.
Uruguay has said it is also considering having marijuana grown on a plot of land controlled by the military.
These are unconventional moves spearheaded by an unconventional president – 78-year-old former leftist guerrilla fighter José Mujica.
“What is clear is that what we have been doing in terms of combatting drugs does not work. You can’t try to change by keep doing the same thing,” he said.
The law passed by Congress in December makes Uruguay the first country in the world to regulate the cultivation, distribution
and consumption of marijuana.
While that is a cause for celebration for some – about 20,000 of the 3.3 million people who live in Uruguay are estimated to use marijuana every day – there are also staunch critics at home and abroad.
Among the fears expressed is that marijuana could serve as a gateway to other, harder drugs.