The Cannabis Republic of Uruguay

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Last year Colorado became the first state in the US to legalize recreational marijuana, but in Uruguay, the government is getting ready to legalize and regulate weed across the country. So, VICE went there to figure out how they’re going to pull this off. Is it going to be a smoker’s paradise or rather overly regulated cash crop for the government?

In December 2013 Uruguay’s Congress passed a law that regulated the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana. It was a watershed moment in the history of pot prohibition. The first entire country decided to eradicate the brutal legacy of the war on drugs and open up the potential of a new legitimate economy.

But weed isn’t entirely legal yet. From December until April this year the government has been debating and writing the specifics of the regulations which will likely be set in stone in late April and then take effect this fall. It turns out the devil is in the details and the law poses more questions than answers. About individual liberty, the prospects of a commercial weed boom and more.

The great Uruguayan experiment, brought forward by the country’s progressive president, has stirred up a heated debate from both sides of the anti-prohibition isle. Alicia Castilla and Daniel Vidart are longtime weed advocates and academics. Alicia was just released from prison where she spent three months locked up on marijuana charges. She was one of the last people to be put away for pot. VICE visited them in their home just outside the country’s capital.

Alicia has been consuming cannabis for the last 50 years. She thinks this is a repressive law that legalizes the stigma that already exists towards the consumer. The state shouldn’t register people and it shouldn’t regulate them either. The state shouldn’t determine how much can people smoke and no one should be restricted to smoke only government’s marijuana.

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