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Uruguay: Government Submits Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana

(Aug. 27, 2012) On August 8, 2012, the President of Uruguay submitted legislation to Congress with a single provision, establishing state control and regulation of the importation, production, acquisition, commercialization, and distribution of marijuana in the country. (Mujica Envió al Parlamento el Proyecto de Despenalización y Monopolio Estatalde la Marihuana en Uruguay, LA RED 21 (Aug. 9, 2012).)

The legislation further provides that the government will be entitled to carry out the actual execution of all commercialization and marketing of cannabis. According to the government, the proposal does not violate any international treaty on the subject. (Id.)

The legislation leaves unchanged the prohibition of trade in marijuana among private individuals, found in Decree-Law 14294 (REGISTRO NACIONAL DE LEYES Y DECRETOS (Nov. 11, 1974)).

The goal of the government in submitting this legislation is to take control of the marijuana trade in Uruguay, currently run by drug trafficking networks, with yearly profits equivalent to US$30 to $40 million. (Id.) The government's decision is also a way of addressing the rising level of social violence and corruption that results from the illegal trafficking in the substance. (Mujica Envió al Parlamento el Proyecto de Despenalización y Monopolio Estatal de la Marihuana en Uruguay, supra.)