Uruguay is a country located on the eastern coasts of South America. Despite the fact that Uruguay is a relatively small country, recently it has taken a bold stance and has created an alternative to the heavy handed enforcement in terms of dealing with the drug issue that the rest of the world has taken. Uruguay has taken preliminary steps to become the first country to legalize marijuana. This is an evident sign that the so called war on drugs has failed. The zero tolerance mentality against drugs is fading in the United States and in so many other countries around the world because this policy fails to address the social issues that illicit drugs create. The country’s government has created a model that could possibly be duplicated in other countries. Within our own country we have seen two states, Colorado and Washington, attempt to legalize marijuana as well. However despite the fact that Colorado and Washington respectively recognize marijuana to be a legal substance, federal law still considers marijuana illegal. Futhermore, marijuana use for medicinal uses continues to grow in popularity. Medicinal marijuana is legal in more than one third of all the states in the country.
The policy has not been implemented as of yet and as previously mentioned it is in the preliminary stages but expects to pass in Uruguayan Senate in the fall. Under the proposed system the Uruguayan government would “purchase marijuana from licensed growers and distribute it to pharmacies” (Rayman & Davidson, 2013).
While Uruguay may not be viewed as a leading country in the world, I think they are on the ahead of the curve with recent initiatives they have taken to enact a new drug policy. The leaders of the country of Uruguay have made a courageous, gallant decision to correct the social issues stemming from the illegal drug trade and improve the quality of life for the citizens of their country. The overwhelming thought throughout the United States and the rest of the world is that the war on drugs has failed and we need to take a different approach when developing new drug legislation.
The war on drugs has come with a staggering price tag both monetarily and in terms of lives that have been lost. The United States spends approximately 51 billion dollars annually on the war on drugs ("War on drugs," 2013). The war on drugs has created a violent drug market that can be witnessed and/or observed everyday by watching the evening news or reading the local newspaper. The violence can be seen on a more drastic level by looking no further than our neighboring country to the south, Mexico. Furthermore, it is projected that two thirds of the marijuana in United States possibly originates from Mexico where it is estimated that over the last five years Mexico has had 47,500 drug-related killings (Joffee-Block, 2011).
The legalization of marijuana brings with it an exponential amount of benefits, benefits that will undoubtedly save lives. While marijuana is only one opponent of the war on drugs, it is the most commonly used illicit drug in our country (Van Ours, 2012). There have been a number of in depth scientific studies that show that marijuana is no more harmful, long term, than alcohol. “In study after study, decade after decade, researchers have found no reliable evidence that marijuana is a serious