Marijuana or cannabis, has had a wild history when it comes to its legality. In case you didn’t know, according to the Textbook of Forensic and Toxicology, “marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the cannabis plant intended for medical or recreational use.” This drug has had popularity throughout the ages. But, also, this drug has been the epicenter of a vast amount of controversies. Nothing else has come close to the ridiculous history of this drug other than in the countries of the United States and Uruguay. Both have some type of marijuana laws enforced but vary in vastly different ways, either in the best of interests or for the worse. In this paper, we’ll be going over on how marijuana laws differ in the United States and Uruguay.
One of the reasons why I’m comparing the United States and Uruguay like I already stated, is because both countries have a ridiculous history when it comes to marijuana. In these countries, it has been shown what happens when the drug is outlawed and when it becomes legalized. It can either be shown through financial findings, health, law enforcement, and many more. These countries are usually the epicenter when it comes to drug law reformation in the world. When it comes to this, it is important to see what each country is doing better than the other. Amidst that, we can see how the other country might improve their stance and laws on this subject, which might ultimately lead to change for the better.
It’s important to compare the history of marijuana laws in each country so we can know what worked and what didn’t work. It is important to learn our history, or we are doomed to repeat it. With that out of the way, let’s go over the history of marijuana in each country, starting first with Uruguay. Uruguay for all of its time has actually never had the act of personally possessing drugs criminalized. But in 1974, there was a law that permitted judges to determine whether a given case of owning marijuana was either for commercial or personal use. In 1998, that law was modernized. Besides all of that, the country’s history on the drug would be later refreshed on June of 2012. On that date, according to the BBC, the Uruguayan government revealed a bill “to allow state-controlled sales of marijuana to fight a rise in drug-related crime.” According to the BBC, Defense Minister Eleuterio Fernandez, said that one of the reasons for this bill was so that it can “remove profits from drug dealers and divert users from harder drugs.” In the bill, it would allow the government to create a “user database in order to supervise consumption.” With all of that presented, the BBC also states the fact that in Uruguay alone, “the illegal marijuana market is estimated to be worth about seventy-five million dollars a year.” With all of that money out there, you can see why the Uruguayan government would be interested in making it sure that it is not dirty money. Then on the 31st of July of 2013, the Chamber of Representatives in Uruguay finally passed the bill to legalize and regulate “the sale and production of marijuana in the country.” After that on the 23rd of December 2013, the President of Uruguay signed the bill into law. According to Reason.com, the government would be in charge of the production and pricing of cannabis. But, unfortunately, on July 2014, according to Hurriyat Daily News, the Uruguayan president announced the “full implementation of the law would be postponed to 2015” all to “practical difficulties.” With many concerns risen during the next year and a half, finally in 2017, the government allowed the sale of cannibals from 16 pharmacies. According to CNBC, this law would make Uruguay the first country to sell cannabis in drug stores. With all of the information presented, there is still some more detail on how the marijuana laws function in the country. But, we will get into more detail on how the law works later in this paper.