Brief: Uruguay’s Legal Marijuana Program Is Safe Under New President

Uruguay’s nation-wide recreational marijuana program has garnered much international attention since its unveiling earlier this year. Recently, the program faced a possible threat of shutdown depending on the outcome of the country’s presidential elections. Thankfully, that danger has passed.

Former President Tabare Vazquez, who served his initial term as president from 2005-2010, beat his election opponent 53 percent to 40 percent during Sunday’s runoff election.

Vazquez’s opponent, Luis Lacalle Pou, has declared himself staunchly opposed to current President José Mujica’s widely-publicized recreational marijuana program. During the election, Lacalle Pou vowed to halt the program and undo the infrastructure for the nation’s retail marijuana market if he were elected president.

Vazquez, who NBC reports had “promised to continue the plan unless it produced negative results,” is an oncologist who’s first term actions proved markedly moderate. Much has changed in Uruguay’s political climate since then. This is largely a result of President Mujica’s passing of progressive laws on same-sex marriage, abortion, and marijuana.

Uruguay’s program is set to launch in 2015, and all cannabis offered in retail stores will be produced and processed by the country’s federal government.


Photo Credit: Lisa Cyr

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