Drug policy reform on the move: pressure building in Uruguay; Guatemala may ready another surprise; Mexican go the polls

Following the announcement on June 20 of a project to legalize and control marijuana in Uruguay, a vigorous debate has been started with proponents and opponents furbishing their weapons. The initial project of creating a national registry of users seems to have been shelved, and the idea of state-run production and retail seems to have been ruled out in favor of closely monitored private businesses. A proposal for legalization of cultivation for personal use might be folded into the new legalization proposal.

“The most important is to have a debate; this debate will take place until the law is approved, and will keep going after that, as we will need to regulate” declared Julio Calzada, secretary general of the National Drugs Board.

The international media has been generally supportive and the news have been welcomed, with the Time wondering if the rest of the world should follow.

Not everybody is pleased of course. Yury Fedotov, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs on Crime told reporters: “Should it happen of course that would be a serious violation of the Single convention and Uruguay is a party to this convention… I’m also aware that the President of the International Narcotic Control Board is planning an urgent mission to Uruguay to discuss the situation with the authorities of this country.” There is no official reaction from the US administration; drug czar Gil Kerlikowske has remained silent so far. While Guatemalan president Perez Molina warmly greeted the news, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, who had appeared to be favorable to open drug policy debate, was highly critical of the Uruguayan move. The Uruguayan debate must be followed closely in neighboring Brazil and Argentina where a debate on drug policy in ongoing, with Brazil scheduled to vote in July on decriminalization of possession for personal use of all drugs.

Uruguay needs our support. If you haven’t done so yet, I urge you to sign the petition in support of the marijuana legalization project in Uruguay.

If you signed already, help to promote it. Share on social networks and email.

We need a success story in MJ legalization and Uruguay can be it. They will get a lot pressure from the UN and the US government. Let’s give them support from people from the US and everywhere. Uruguay is opening the gates and can be the very first of many. Brazil and Argentine have been debating their own drug policies for a while, they could be next. This could be the beginning of a domino effect. Uruguay is calling on the international community to consider marijuana legalization. Let’s respond to them.

In other parts of the world:

Guatemala seems to get ready for a major announcement about drug policy reform. I will keep you posted. It is time to revive our Guatemala petition http://signon.org/sign/support-guatemalan-president that had been dormant since the April 14-15 OAS summit. Please sign it if you haven’t done so, and start spreading it around you. We should have more news next week.

Governor Cuomo’s marijuana decriminalization bill was killed by his GOP opponent in NY State, but Rahm Emmanuel in Chicago handily sailed his own bill through. This would be relatively insignificant if Chicago was not Obama’s political base and if Rahm Emmanuel had not been Obama’s first chief of staff, almost his right harm. Now that his buddy Rahm Emmanuel decriminalized MJ in Chicago, and fresh from his SCOTUS healthcare victory, will Obama finally have his Marijuana moment? http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/13/barack-obama-marijuana-legalisation-election

The International Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Specialized National Agencies Against the World Drug Problem was held in Peru on June 25-26. See also http://www.canzarperu2012.com/

President elections will be held in Mexico this coming Sunday, July 1. All three major candidates have stayed away from the drug war issue throughout the campaign, avoiding the topic like a hot potato as the cartel violence keeps tearing the country apart. As the PRI who ruled the country for 70 years gets ready to regain the reins of power, will it resume its cozy relationship with the drug cartels? http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/23/mexico-elections-drugs-war

Jeffrey Dhywood
Investigative writer,
author of “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization”

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/worldward

Follow me on Twitter: @JDhywood

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