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Over 60 percent of people in Uruguay believe the country’s marijuana law should be repealed, indicating continued widespread opposition to legalizing marijuana as the implementation process for the new legislation drags on.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were opposed to the law legalizing marijuana (see graph below) and 62 percent believed the legislation should be repealed as soon as possible, instead of waiting until it had been implemented to determine its impact.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. 

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.

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 3 AUG 2011

The Bolivian air force is set to begin using six Chinese airplanes to battle drug trafficking in the Andean country.

COLOMBIA / 4 DEC 2019

For the second consecutive year, some of Latin America’s leading academics and experts in the field of organized crime convened…

DRUG POLICY / 15 NOV 2018

Leading academics, researchers, and journalists dedicated to the study of organized crime around the world convened November 15 in Bogotá, Colombia,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …