HomeNewsBriefContinued Opposition to Uruguay Marijuana Law a Challenge for Govt
BRIEF

Continued Opposition to Uruguay Marijuana Law a Challenge for Govt

DRUG POLICY / 24 JUL 2014 BY CAMILO MEJIA GIRALDO EN

Over 60 percent of people in Uruguay believe the country's marijuana law should be repealed, indicating continued widespread opposition to legalizing marijuana as the implementation process for the new legislation drags on.

In a recent survey conducted by pollster CIFRA, 64 percent of respondents were opposed to the law legalizing marijuana (see graph below) and 62 percent believed the legislation should be repealed as soon as possible, instead of waiting until it had been implemented to determine its impact.

On the same day the results of the poll were released, President Jose Mujica told German television station Deutsche Welle that the effects of the legislation would not be visible for at least two years because of the difficulties involved in regulating the existing marijuana market. "There are 150,000 consumers," the president said. "We want to bring them out of the shadow, out of hiding, to this market." 

Weeks earlier, Mujica said legal marijuana sales -- which are one element of the law approved by the country's legislature in December 2013 -- would not begin until sometime in 2015 because of "practical obstacles."   

marijuanalawopposition

Insight Crime Analysis

Uruguay has become the first nation in the world to legalize and attempt to regulate all aspects of the market for marijuana consumed for recreational purposes -- production, sales, and consumption. The new law, which Mujica has framed partly as a means of combatting drug trafficking, will allow the production of up to 22 tons of marijuana a year and the sale of the drug in pharmacies.

The most recent poll indicates that in spite of government efforts to build support, opposition to the legislation remains widespread. The percentage of survey respondents opposed to the marijuana law has remained relatively constant over the last two years, with 66 percent against the bill in July 2012 and 64 percent opposed in December that year, leading Mujica to call on legislators to halt the analysis of the bill to allow more time for national debate. 

SEE ALSO: Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime, and the Politics of Drugs

The high percentage of Uruguayans who want to repeal the law places a great deal of pressure on the government to demosntrate positive results after its implementation next year. Nearly 40 percent of respondents to a recent Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) survey saw the law as a tool to prevent crime and fight drug trafficking, meaning the government will likely need to show falling crime rates if the policy is to gain public support.

Nonetheless, the currently slim support may not be too much of an issue, as the ruling Frente Amplio party has proved able to push through unpopular legislation in the past. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

DRUG POLICY / 4 APR 2014

The US DEA's top official has claimed criminal organizations from Mexico are "setting up shop" in the states of Washington…

DRUG POLICY / 6 MAR 2012

Following a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, US Vice President Joseph Biden told press that while the US welcomes…

DRUG POLICY / 18 MAY 2011

In his political rhetoric, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega makes no secret of his often hostile views towards U.S. foreign policy.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.