Despite fears that a young, conservative faction could have taken ahold of the government and ended the program prematurely, Uruguay has elected a liberal president and secured the safety of the program – for now.
Former Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez was re-elected on Sunday with a 52.8 percent vote to serve a five-year term.
“Uruguayans again have said ‘yes,’ yes to more freedoms and more rights, better democracy and better citizenship,” Vazquez, 74, said in a speech yesterday.
Vazquez, a doctor, said he had some issues with the marijuana laws passed last year, but says he will respect them and enforce them – though some say he could change them to better suit his vision.
“There will be a strict and very close evaluation about the impact that this law has on society. We are going to analyze it very carefully. And if at any moment we see that it does not work, we will not hesitate for a moment in making the necessary corrections,” Vazquez told the El Pais newspaper.
Uruguay approved a measure in December 2013 that allows adults to cultivate up to six plants at home every year and keep up to 17 ounces of herb from those plants. The law also allows for people to create smoking and cultivation cooperatives with as many as 45 members. Growers, sellers, wholesalers and even customers will be tracked through government systems. Each adult will be allowed to purchase up 40 grams every month.
Cannabis sales are only allowed to Uruguayans licensed in the program.