Other experts on drug policy welcomed the development and credited Uruguay for taking the lead on the issue.

“Sometimes small countries do great things,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Uruguay’s bold move does more than follow in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington. It provides a model for legally regulating marijuana that other countries, and U.S. states, will want to consider – and a precedent that will embolden others to follow in their footsteps.”

And Nadelmann’s colleague, Hannah Hetzer, who heads the DPA’s Latin America office from Montevideo, Uruguay, said the goal of the legalization process is for Uruguayans to more maturely face the reality of drug use that is going on all over the world.

“At the heart of the Uruguayan marijuana regulation bill is a focus on improving public health and public safety,” she said. “Instead of closing their eyes to the problem of drug abuse and drug trafficking, Uruguay is taking an important step towards responsible regulation of an existing reality.”


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