Overview of drug laws and legislative trends in Uruguay
There is a favourable environment in the country for an open debate, not only involving domestic legislation but also regional and international drug policy – Uruguay plays a prominent role in the debate in the international community – and questioning prohibition as a failed model. There have been discussions among the different political sectors since the change in government in 2005 on reform of drug policies, including decriminalization of cannabis cultivation for personal consumption. Congress is currently debating a bill that would regulate the cannabis market, with the state in charge of production and distribution. A new version of the bill was released in December 2012.
The existing legislation is Decree Law 14.294 passed in 1974, modified by Law 17.016 from 1998. According to Article 31: “Whoever is found in possession of a reasonable amount of drugs meant exclusively for personal consumption, as determined in good faith by a judge, will be exempt from punishment; the judge must substantiate the reasoning behind his/her ruling.” The drugs law permits consumption and penalizes possession if it is not for consumption, but does not establish a legal mechanism for obtaining the substance or set limits on the acceptable quantity for individual use. This final point is left to the judge’s discretion.Read more...
A bold, if fuzzy, proposalThe Economist (UK)
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Latin American leaders have begun to rebel against rigid drug prohibition and the decades-long "war" on drugs. So when Uruguay’s government this month released a document suggesting it would legalise and take control of the sale of cannabis in the country, this seemingly bold step attracted much media attention. Not so fast: the proposal amounts to one line in a 20-page report on the government’s strategy for tackling rising crime. Nevertheless, something is stirring in Uruguay.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Uruguay is planning a novel approach to fighting its rising crime: having its government sell marijuana to take drug profits out of the hands of dealers. Under the plan backed by President Jose Mujica's leftist administration, only the government would be allowed to sell marijuana and only to adults who register on a government database, letting officials keep track of their purchases over time. Profits would reportedly go toward rehabilitating drug addicts.
Systems Overload: Drug Laws and Prisons in Latin America
Uruguay has one of the most advanced drug policies on the continent. In Uruguay, the law does not criminalize drug use or possession of drugs for personal use. In addition, in recent years its national drug policies have prioritized the prosecution of medium and large-scale traffickers rather than focusing resources and energy on small-time dealers who are easily replaced. This country study examines the scope of the legislation, the policies developed and how the normative and policy frameworks find expression in Uruguay’s prison system, with a special focus on the population incarcerated for drug-related offenses.Read more...
The cocaine base paste market in the Southern ConeTransnational Institute (TNI)Drugs & Conflict Debate Papers 14
Based on two studies carried out in the cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, this report examines the origin, characteristics and impact of the explosive increase in cocaine base paste in urban areas. It also highlights the variety of products consumed in these cities and the substance known as crack that is consumed in Brazilian cities. The Brazilian experience with this consumption could serve as an example and a lesson for the Southern Cone.
Download the document (PDF)Read more...