MONTEVIDEO-A bill that would legalize and regulate marijuana, putting it under strict governmental control, passed the lower house of the Uruguayan legislature last night and is expected to pass the Senate and be signed by President Jose Mujica in coming days.
"The passage of this bill will allow police to spend their time and resources on violent crime, devastate criminal networks in the country who rely on marijuana income, create jobs, generate tax revenue, and ensure the quality and safety of the product for those who choose to use it," said 30 year law enforcement veteran Terry Nelson, who spent decades fighting the war on drugs in Latin America and now advocates for its end with the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "This bill ensures a safer Uruguay and it should be a model for the world."
Retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, another LEAP speaker who has seen firsthand the effects of legalization in his own state added that "In November Colorado and Washington became the first places in the world to legalize and regulate marijuana. Just nine months later, an entire nation is posed to follow in their footsteps. This is a historic moment for Uruguay and a historic moment for anyone who cares about smart drug policy and a well-run criminal justice system. It gives further proof that the legalization of marijuana is both sustainable and inevitable in the United States and around the world."
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a nonprofit group of police, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs.