Uruguay President Wants The State To Grow And Sell Pot


O GLOBO (Brazil), EL PAÍS (Uruguay)

MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan president José "Pepe" Mujica wants to make his country the world's first to grow and sell pot.

With marijuana consumption already legal in Uruguay, Mujica says that drug-related crime continues to plague the country, and that handing over production and distribution to the government can help break the violence of drug traffickers.

"We are doing this for the young people, because the traditional approach hasn't worked" Mujica told the Brazilian O Globo newspaper. "People won't be able to buy any amount at any shop. The state will have control over quality, quantity, price, and consumers will have to register."

Those who violate state limits on purchasing the drug have to join a drug-rehabilitation program funded by profits from the marijuana sales. Individuals would not be allowed to sell pot, or grow their own plants.

If the proposed bill is passed in Congress, Uruguay will be the first country in the world to have a national government that sells marijuana to its citizens directly. Marijuana consumption is already legal in the South American nation, as well as a growing number of countries around the world.

State Secretary Alberto Breccia, admitted to a local radio station that he had smoked marijuana, which had made him feel "peace, tranquility and joy," according to Uruguayan daily El Pais. "It was a very enjoyable experience."

When asked about why he stopped smoking, Breccia said once was enough, adding he had received the drug as a gift, which he "gladly accepted." "To learn about certain issues, you have to experience them," he said.

The proposed law is part of 15 measures designed to combat crime.

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Migrant Lives

The Other Scandal At The Poland-Belarus Border: Where's The UN?

The United Nations, UNICEF, Red Cross and other international humanitarian organizations seems to be trying to reach the Polish-Belarusian border, where Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko is creating a refugee crisis on purpose.

Migrants in Michalowo, Belarus, next to the border with Poland.

Wojciech Czuchnowski

WARSAW — There is no doubt that the refugees crossing the Belarusian border with Poland — and by extension reaching the European Union — were shepherded through by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. There is more than enough evidence that this is an organized action of the dictator using a network of intermediaries stretching from Africa and the Middle East. But that is not all.

The Belarusian regime has made no secret that its services are guiding refugees to the Polish border, literally pushing them onto (and often, through) the wires.

It can be seen in films made available to the media by... Belarusian border guards and Lukashenko's official information agencies.

Tactics of a strongman

Refugees are not led to the border by "pretend soldiers" in uniforms from a military collectibles store. These are regular formations commanded by state authorities. Their actions violate all rules of peaceful coexistence and humanitarianism to which Belarus has committed itself as a state.

Belarus is dismissed by the "rest of the world" as a hopeless case of a bizarre (although, in the last year, increasingly brutal) dictatorship. But it still formally belongs to a whole range of organizations whose principles it violates every day on the border with Poland.

Indeed, Belarus is a part of the United Nations (it is even listed as a founding state in its declaration), it belongs to the UNICEF, to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and even to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Photo of Polish soldiers setting up a barbed wire fence in the Border Zone near Krynki, Belarus

Polish soldiers set up a barbed wire fence in the Border Zone near Krynki, Belarus

Maciej Luczniewski/ZUMA

Lukashenko would never challenge the Red Cross

Each of these entities has specialized bureaus whose task is to intervene wherever conventions and human rights are violated. Each of these organizations should have sent their observers and representatives to the conflict area long ago — and without asking Belarus for permission. They should be operating on both sides of the border, as their presence would certainly make it more difficult to break the law.

An incomprehensible absence

Neither the leader of Poland's ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczyński nor even Lukashenko would dare to keep the UN, UNICEF, OSCE or the Red Cross out of their countries.

In recent weeks, the services of one UN state (Belarus) have been regularly violating the border of another UN state (Poland). In the nearby forests, children are being pushed around and people are dying. Despite all of this, none of the international organizations seems to be trying to reach the border nor taking any kind of action required by their responsibilities.

Their absence in such a critical time and place is completely incomprehensible, and their lack of action raises questions about the use of international treaties and organizations created to protect them.

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