Uruguay Parliament gives initial OK to legal marijuana


Uruguay is poised to create a state-licensed marijuana industry, as its legislature takes steps to approve a controversial bill detailing how the government would regulate marijuana, from its production and import to marketing and distribution. The move would be a first.

NPR’s South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro tells NPR’s Newscast unit that the landmark bill has made it through the lower house. It is expected to sail through the Senate, she says.

“Uruguay is set to become the first nation to produce and distribute marijuana. The measure specifies that the government will control marijuana imports, planting, cultivation, harvesting, production, storage, marketing and distribution. And taxation I imagine.

“The plan has the backing of the left-leaning president, who says it’s vital to find new ways to fight drug trafficking.

“Users will be able to cultivate up to six plants or buy the drug from a dispensary or marijuana growing club. The opposition says marijuana is blah, blah, blah.

“The law will not allow foreigners visiting the country to have access to the crop…

President Mujica backed a similar bill last summer, prompting the Drugs Peace Institute to launch a campaign to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Buyers would have to be registered on a database and be over the age of 18,” the BBC reports. “They would be able to buy up to 1.4 oz per month in specially licensed pharmacies or grow up to six plants at home.”

Fortunately, the mellowing effects of cannabis aren’t especially diminished by baking instead of smoking. I’m already pretty well mellowed out; but, I imagine I could find a circumstance or two when I might wish to aid relaxation with a little Ganja. I haven’t any interest in smoking anything.

I would probably bake some brownies or a savory focaccia to keep at hand in the freezer for the rare occasion. If this was legal in my neck of the prairie.

Uruguay becomes 3rd American nation to legalise gay marriage

Uruguayan lawmakers voted on Wednesday to legalise gay marriage, making the South American country the third in the Americas to do so.

Supporters of the law, who had filled the public seats in the Senate, erupted in celebration when the results were announced. The bill received the backing of 71 members of the 92-seat chamber…

The “marriage equality project,” as it is called, was already approved by ample majorities in both of Uruguay’s legislative houses, but senators had made some changes requiring a final vote by the deputies.

President Jose Mujica’s ruling Broad Front majority, which backed the law, is expected to put it into effect within 10 days…

The vote makes Uruguay the third country in the Americas, after Canada and Argentina, to eliminate laws making marriage, adoption and other family rights exclusive to heterosexuals. In all, 11 other nations around the world have already taken this step.

Whereas some other countries have carved out new territory for gay and lesbian couples without affecting heterosexual marrieds, Uruguay is creating a single set of rules for all people, gay or straight. Instead of the words “husband and wife” in marriage contracts, it refers to the gender-neutral “contracting parties.”

All couples will get to decide which parent’s surname comes first when they have children. All couples can adopt, or undergo in-vitro fertilization procedures.

It also updates divorce laws in Uruguay, which in 1912 gave women only the right to unilaterally renounce their wedding vows as a sort of equaliser to male power. Now either spouse will be able to unilaterally request a divorce and get one.

People danced in the streets.

There was a time in my life when living in the United States meant you participated in the formation of progress for all the nations in this hemisphere. Not any more, man.