[JURIST] Uruguayan President Jose Mujica [official profile, in Spanish] has signed into law a controversial plan to oversee the production and sale of marijuana in Uruguay. The Uruguayan Senate passed the measure [JURIST report] to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana earlier this month. The bill makes Uruguay the first country to have a system that regulates marijuana production and sale, as the use of cannabis was already legal in Uruguay. The bill allows [AFP report] individuals over 18 to grow up to six of their own marijuana plants per person, creates state-supervised and controlled consumer clubs and allows consumers to buy up to 40 grams per month from pharmacies. Uruguay’s government has four months to create additional rules and regulations for the program, such as how production licenses will be granted. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) [official website], the UN body overseeing the implementation of international drug treaties, has criticized Uruguay’s legislation as being illegal [press release, PDF] under international treaties.
The legislation was approved by the lower house [JURIST report] of the Uruguayan Congress in a 50-46 vote in August. Lawmakers formally proposed the framework for the regulation of the production, sale and consumption of marijuana last year in an attempt to reduce drug-related violence [JURIST reports]. Marijuana legalization [JURIST backgrounder] has created controversy around the world and in the US, and JURIST Guest Columnist Alex Kriet predicts that 2014 will be a groundbreaking year [JURIST op-ed] in marijuana policy. In November Colorado voters approved [JURIST report] Proposition AA, which levies a tax on all sales of recreational marijuana in the state. In late October the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging Arizona medical marijuana regulation. In mid-October Washington state approved [JURIST report] rules for recreational sale of marijuana. In August the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced [JURIST report] that it would not interfere with states experimenting with marijuana legalization. Also in August New Jersey governor Chris Christie sent back a bill [JURIST report] which would have made marijuana more accessible. Earlier that month Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed [JURIST report] a bill making Illinois the twenty-first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.