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Uruguay Legalizes Marijuana: Things to Know Before You Move There

December 14, 2013

Uruguay’s José “Pepe” Mujica, the world’s “poorest” (and coolest) president.


“We ask the world to help us create this experience. It will allow us to adopt a socio-political experiment to address the serious problem of drug trafficking… the effect of the drug traffic is worse than the drug.” (José Mujica, President of Uruguay)

Unless you live in a jar, you probably heard the news: Uruguay, the birthplace I left in 1984, became the world’s first country to fully legalize marijuana, with a tentative price of $1 a gram. On December 10 the Uruguayan Senate approved the measure on a 16-13 vote (don’t laugh—we only have a population of 3.3 million) after 13 hours of debate, to the delight of hundreds of supporters who filled the upper galleries of Montevideo’s Legislative Palace and marchers surrounding the building outside.

It would be easy for me to brag about how progressive my country is, but let’s face it: in spite of historical social achievements (in the last year alone, Uruguay legalized abortion, gay marriage and marijuana, and the country has been a pioneer on workers’ and women’s rights), three months ago 63 percent of the population opposed the legalization, with that figure now at 58 percent.

For those wishing legalization in their own country, Uruguay has become a sort of progressive paradise; we have the coolest country with the coolest president. BuzzFeed even posted a funny blog named “21 Reasons to Move to Uruguay in 2014.” But before you start packing your bags, let me tell you: Uruguay is a little more complicated than that. In this blog, I’ll try to break it down for you.

First, go to the next page to see what this law is all about.

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