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International Analysis: Uruguay and Marijuana Legalization

January 7, 2014
By Jeffrey A. Miron

In an article that also appeared in Huffington Post on January 7, 2014, Jeffrey Miron notes that on December 23, 2013 Uruguayan President José Mujica signed a new law that legalized marijuana.

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In an article that also appeared in Huffington Post on January 7, 2014, Jeffrey Miron notes that on December 23, 2013 Uruguayan President José Mujica signed a new law that legalized marijuana. Uruguay had already legalized possession, but the new law legalizes production and sale. This is an important victory in the fight against drug prohibition: it marks the first full legalization of an illicit drug since worldwide drug prohibition began in 1919. 

Prohibition has proven to have little benefit, and comes with a long list of negative side effects: it generates violent, corrupt black markets that increase the use of dirty needles and the spread of HIV and other diseases; it results in civil-liberties infringements in the form of warrantless searches, racial profiling, and the unnecessary incarceration of thousands; and governments waste resources on police and prisons, and leave potential tax revenue as profit for illegal traffickers.


Jeffrey Miron is Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron is the author of Libertarianism, from A to Z.

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