Uruguay Becomes The First Country To Legalize Marijuana

The South American country, Uruguay, legalized the trade of marijuana Tuesday (Dec. 9), becoming the first country in the world to do so.

The legislation was passed with a 16-13 vote in the Senate, authorizing the sale, growing, and smoking of cannabis. Over-the-counter distribution of the drug in pharmacies will be available to registered drug users starting April 2014.

Officials believe this new legislation will stifle the prominent drug trafficking situation.

“We’ve given this market as a gift to the drug traffickers and that is more destructive socially than the drug itself, because it rots the whole of society,” said Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica, to Telam, Argentina’s news agency.

However, not all officials are on board. Senator Alfredo Solari of the Colorado Party, said, “Competing with drug traffickers by offering marijuana at a lower price will just increase the market for a drug that has negative effects on public health.”

Photo Credit: Reuters/Andres Stapff