Weekend News / World

Uruguay to sell marijuana legally

By Marion V. Ali

Uruguay will begin to produce and sell marijuana legally but people will be restricted to how much they can access. Licensed pharmacies will sell the drug for less than $1 a gram, with consumers allowed 40g (1.4oz) a month.

Under the new bill, each family will be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants, and that marijuana may be consumed in the same spaces as tobacco, except at workplaces. Drivers caught “smoke-driving” will be subject to the same penalties as those under the influence of alcohol.

One gramme of marijuana would cost between 20 and 22 pesos or little less than $1 US. The Uruguayan government estimates that the current marijuana demand at between 18 and 22 tonnes, which would equate to about 10 hectares of cannabis plantations.

Uruguay’s government hopes the bill will help tackle drug cartels, but naysayers say it will expose more people to drugs. A recent UN report criticised the legalisation of drugs, saying it posed a health danger.

President Jose Mujica, who proposed the bill, says the new law should take effect early next week.

Uruguay became the first country in the world to make marijuana growth, sale and consumption legal last year.

(Pic: Reuters)

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