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Uruguay has become the first country to fully legalize marijuana today after President José Mujica signed the legalization bill into law. The law will set up a formal standard to grow, tax, and distribute marijuana throughout the South American country. While many countries have laws that have some sort of marijuana laws for a variety of purposes, Uruguay will be the first country to set up a governmental agency that will grow and distribute the plant to its citizens. All citizens 18 and older that also register on a governmental database will be eligible to purchase the drug.
The main point of this law was to get the upper hand over the drug cartels that weak havoc throughout the South American continent, and to a greater extent, throughout the world. These cartels are ruthless and pose an existential threat to many governments, so it is imperative for these nations to figure out a way to stem their rise.
It is hard to believe that this small South American country is the first to experiment with this. I think a big part of it has to do with the Reagan era's "War on Drug's" that has been an utter failure in every way possible. It has done absolutely nothing to stem the use of drugs, squandered billions upon billions of dollars, sent millions of people to jail for nonviolent offenses, and has either directly or indirectly killed millions more. I challenge anyone to provide me a positive result of this two decade long war.
I applaud Uruguay for finally taking a step away from the American dominated way of thinking and for standing up to these drug cartels and hope that other South and Central American countries begin to follow suit. The prohibition of marijuana has ruined countless lives and it is high time to start thinking of a different way forward.
What does this law mean for the prospect of marijuana legalization not just in South America, but the greater world? Do you think it will begin a domino effect of other countries moving toward legalization or do you think it may backfire if the American government speaks out forcefully against it?