Secretary of Drug Board: new Government in Uruguay will not repeal cannabis law

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MONTEVIDEO (Sputnik) – The next Government of Uruguay, which assumes March 1, 2020, will not repeal the cannabis law, in force in the country since 2013, the secretary general of the National Drug Board (JND) told Sputnik, Diego Olivera

"We know that the rights agenda that includes the legal regulation of cannabis will not be repealed and that is a commitment that was assumed in the campaign, and we also know that the elected president (Luis Lacalle Pou) was once one of the legislators that presented concrete initiatives to legally regulate cannabis, "said the official during the sixth edition of the specialized fair Cannabis Expo.
The norm passed in 2013, the first law of regulation of cannabis sanctioned in the world, includes the sale of marijuana through three ways: self-cultivation, cultivation clubs and sale in pharmacies.
It is one of the most remembered milestones in the management of the Frente Amplio (center-left), a party that until March governs Uruguay.

To date, there are 17 pharmacies that throughout the country they sell cannabis with low psychoactivity to 38,601 registered users who pay just over six dollars for a five gram package offered in two variants, sativa and indica.

In addition, there are 7,871 registered domestic growers and 145 membership clubs, with approximately 4,000 members.

Likewise, there are eight companies which have approved licenses for cultivation for marketing purposes, both in Uruguay and in the rest of the world.

"There are good prospects and on our part the greater openness to dialogue with the elected authorities; also, as a member of the Frente Amplio, I can say that as an opposition we are going to be very interested in supervising and controlling that cannabis regulation 19.172, follow thriving and fulfilling the purposes for which it was approved, "said Olivera.

For the official, one of the most important cultural consequences of the regulation is that stigmatization on the cannabis user decreased.
"One of the problems that prohibitionism has brought in the world is that it generates a sub-world of illegality associated with the commercialization of substances that remain prohibited and that causes that consumption, which is not a criminal activity per se, is linked and, therefore, there is a stigmatization towards users, "he determined.

Also, and according to the JND, the regulation prevented more than 30,000 million dollars go to drug trafficking since the norm was implemented.

Family affair

The Cannabis Expo organizer, Mercedes Ponce de Leon, believes that it will not be necessary to telephone her distant cousin, Lorena, wife of the next president of Uruguay, so that the cannabis regulation law is respected.
However, he admitted to Sputnik that "it will be necessary to be attentive" and assured that "this civil society will go out to support the law in case it is necessary, as it went out to obtain that it is sanctioned".

"Yesterday (on Thursday) the bill that will generate a cannabis research fund and an advisory committee was approved, and being aligned on this issue with the next government is very important," he said.

Although the next cabinet of ministers is not yet confirmed, it is likely that the Health area will be commanded by a member of the Cabildo Open party, from the extreme right, something that is "disturbing" for both Ponce de Leon and those who support the rule .

Cannabis Expo It has been carried out in Uruguay since 2013, in tune with the decriminalization process, and it was the first public space in the country that had a medical cannabis guidance office, a market nobody talked about and that plans to move around 20,000 million dollars in the world by 2025.



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