“Legalising marijuana is not beautiful but it is even worse to leave it to the ‘narco’. The only healthy addiction is love.”
José Mujica, the charismatic ex-president of Uruguay expressed his views on drugs laws after marijuana was made legal in the country in December 2013. Mujica was a socialist guerrilla in his youth, and spent 14 years being tortured in prison for his political convictions. His government was the first in Latin America to put cannabis in the hands of the state. Since then a public institution controls each phase of the process: from planting to storing, selling and consuming marijuana.
In a region desolated by the violence of drug traffickers this law was created mainly as an alternative to curb the rising of trafficking.
“The law doesn’t want to facilitate or promote consumption but to clear rules for making it more difficult for gangsters to penetrate the market,” says Julio Calzada, a member of the national drugs oversight body (the Junta Nacional de Drogas).