U.N. drug monitoring unit urges Uruguay to reconsider pot bill

Aug. 1, 2013 at 4:07 PM

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The U.N. unit that monitors production and consumption of narcotics Thursday urged Uruguay to reconsider a bill that would legalize non-medical marijuana.

If adopted, the law would be in opposition international drug control treaties, in particular the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, to which Uruguay is a signatory, the International Narcotics Control Board said Thursday in a release.

Lawmakers in Uruguay's lower house Wednesday approved a sweeping bill to legalize marijuana, which now heads for the Chamber of Senators. If senators pass it as expected, President Jose Mujica, a former guerrilla, indicated he would sign the bill.

Under provisions of the bill, which could become law in August, people would be allowed to grow marijuana in their homes with a six-plant limit per household. They would also be permitted to form cooperatives, which would be allowed to grow 99 plants. Private companies could grow marijuana although their crops could only be bought by the government, which would market the drug in licensed pharmacies.

The International Narcotics Control Board, based in Vienna, said the measure would also have serious consequences for the health and welfare of the population and for the prevention of marijuana abuse among the youth.

The INCB urged the Uruguayan authorities to ensure the country remains compliant with international law limiting the use of narcotic drugs, including marijuana, to medical and scientific purposes.

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