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Uruguay Introduces Marijuana Legalization Bill

This comes on the heels of the historic approval of marijuana legalization initiatives in Washington and Colorado on November 6, making these two U.S. states the first political jurisdictions in the world to legalize the production and distribution of cannabis. If Uruguay approves the measure, it will become the first country in the world to do so.

"Uruguay deserves praise for taking the bold step toward becoming the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "The race is now on to see whether Washington, Colorado or Uruguay will be the first to leapfrog the Dutch and establish an effective system for legally regulating what was previously an entirely illegal underground market."

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica announced the proposal in June but the bill has changed significantly since its first draft, which required the state to be the sole provider of marijuana. After a long deliberative and consultative process with international experts, including the Drug Policy Alliance, the bill now allows for home cultivation of up to six plants and membership clubs with a maximum of 15 members per club. The threshold quantity for personal consumption is 40 grams (around 1.5 ounces) of marijuana.

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