MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Pot is now almost completely legal in Uruguay.
On Tuesday, lawmakers gave final approval to a law that will allow Uruguayans to grow their own weed and smoke it freely — whether for medicinal or recreational use. Once signed by the country’s president, the legislation will pave the way for the government to license growers to cultivate cannabis, which will then be sold in pharmacies. It’s expected to take effect in April 2014.
The Uruguayan weed experiment has put this little South American country on the map. Governments around the world will now be watching to see what happens here, and if the new uber-liberal legislation has the intended effect: curbing a crime surge that many blame on drugs.
But what do everyday Uruguayans think about the new law?
Well, as of September, 61 percent of Uruguayans opposed it, according to a respected poll. And opposition lawmakers are threatening a referendum that would allow residents to vote directly on the fate of the law.
Uruguayans not all that happy about government’s decision to legalize weed
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — In November 2010, 68-year-old Argentine writer Alicia Castilla moved across the River Plate to Uruguay in search of a tranquil life.
But just months later, her new home — set back from a pristine white beach an hour from the capital Montevideo — became the target of a police drug raid.
“Fourteen officers stormed in,” she told GlobalPost. “They thought I was the female version of Pablo Escobar.”
Castilla, a longtime activist for the legalization of marijuana and a user since her twenties, was growing 29 cannabis plants, for personal use.
She endured a 95-day stint in jail following her arrest, and today is facing a two-year prison sentence for producing an illegal substance.
Castilla’s case opened a fiery debate about the drug.
In this peaceful South American country, personal use of marijuana is not a crime but there’s a legal gray area around growing the plant.
Following her release in May last year, lawmakers of the Broad Front, the ruling center-left coalition, sent a bill to Congress that proposed legalizing pot production, with a limit of eight plants per household.
That was similar to a bill put forth by opposition politician in 2010.
Now, a parliamentary commission is expected to begin debating a third, far more radical idea — a state monopoly over the cultivation, commercialization and sale of cannabis.
Read the entire story at GlobalPost
'Highless' marijuana developed by Israeli firm
Researchers in Israel claim to have developed marijuana that can ease the symptoms of ailments like cancer without getting patients high.
Avidekel contains only traces of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives users a “high” feeling, Reuters reported.
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It contains 15.8 percent of Cannabidiol, or CBD, another compound found in cannabis that is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. It can bind to the brain’s receptors, therefore working without getting users stoned, according to Reuters.
"Sometimes the high is not always what they need. Sometimes it is an unwanted side effect. For some of the people it’s not even pleasant," Zack Klein, head of development at Tikun Olam, the company that developed the plant, told Reuters.
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Work on the cannabis strain began in 2009.
Marijuana is an illegal drug in Israel, although medicinal use was first permitted in 1993, according to the health ministry.
Tikun Olam has begun to commercialize Avidekel on a small scale in Israel , where about 9,000 people are licensed to obtain medical marijuana, according to an article in Delta World.
Ruth Gallily, a professor at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem who works for the company, told Reuters the strain has no side effects and can be used to treat diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, liver inflammation, heart disease and diabetes.