Uruguay’s president nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for legalizing cannabis

The president of Uruguay has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize

This one is fantastic news for all involved. From here:

According to his advocates, José “Pepe” Mujica’s much talked-about marijuana legalization is in fact “a tool for peace and understanding.”

For the second year in a row, the Drugs Peace Institute, which has supported Mujica’s marijuana legalization drive since 2012, insisting that the consumption of marijuana should be protected as a human right, has endorsed his candidacy, along with members of Mujica’s leftwing political party the Frente Amplio, the PlantaTuPlanta (Collective of Uruguayan growers) and the Latin American Coalition of Cannabis Activists (CLAC).

Despite an avalanche of global criticism, in late December Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize the production and sale of the popular herbal drug. Under the new law, which comes into full effect in early April, Uruguayans will have several options to gain access to it.

The Drugs Peace Institute said that Mujica’s stand against the UN-led prohibition of mind-altering substances is a “symbol of a hand outstretched, of a new era in a divided world.”

“It is a promise to bridge the gap between defiant marijuana consumers and the prohibiting society. Hopefully, the start of the acceptance of this consumption by society and the concomitant development of understanding of its use as a natural medicine, historically used for spiritual liberation, might initiate a process of healing in a world, very confused and deeply divided, over its religious legacy,” the Dutch NGO stated on its website.

The institute pointed out that, unlike coca-based products that reinforce the ego and individual self-esteem, marijuana has the “peculiar quality of diminishing the consumer’s ego.” It pointed out that so far only one government leader has succeeded in challenging the prohibition: “the World’s Poorest President” – Mujica – dubbed so due to his modest lifestyle.

Jose Mujica once said that he’s been looking for god but [hasn’t] found him yet. By legalizing marijuana and opening the doors of spiritual happiness to the young, he might not have found the god of other nations…, but he certainly has followed in the footsteps of Jesus when he said ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these,’” the NGO noted.

“I’m very thankful to these people for honoring me,” Uruguay’s president responded in Havana, as quoted by La Nación Argentine daily. “We are only proposing the right to try another path because the path of repression doesn’t work. We don’t know if we’ll succeed. We ask for support, scientific spirit and to understand that no addiction is a good thing. But our efforts go beyond marijuana – we’re taking aim at the drug traffic”

You certainly get my vote Mr President.

US: Legalizing cannabis is reckless and irresponsible

Following Colorado’s move this month to become the second US state to completely legalise cannabis, James L. Capra, the chief of operations at the US Drug Enforcement agency had this to say in response to a question posed by a senator on Wednesday:

I have to say this…going down the path to legalization in this country is reckless and irresponsibleI’m talking about the long term impact of legalization in the United States. It scares us.

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Despite the local laws of 23 US states which allow cannabis to be prescribed for medical use, it still remains a schedule 1 drug (illegal with no medicinal value) at a federal level.  President Obama seems to have given up on the cat & mouse game that was the DEA vs local states and no longer wishes to enforce the law in those states where cannabis use has been decriminalised.

That said it wants to make its position clear, and Capra went on to say this:

This is a bad experiment.It’s going to cost us in terms of social costs.

If the results of Portugal’s stance on drugs is anything to go by, this won’t be the case. Taking away the ‘naughty’ factor of drugs saw a 50% reduction in drug addiction across the country, with current estimates at a below average addiction rate when compared to the rest of Europe.  As a result, drug related crime also fell dramatically.  Now of course I’m not comparing cannabis to harder drugs (that’d be silly, to classify cannabis in the same region as heroin and speed. Wouldn’t it, US & UK governments?), but what I am saying is that if you allow complete freedom of choice, the correct choice is usually made, as decriminalisation in Portugal has shown us.

Now with a name like SilvaRizla, I’m sure you can all guess what my stance is on cannabis.  This is just the DEA trying to save face and not admitting defeat.  They know full well the war on drugs has failed and is in direct opposition to public opinion, with even more states now considering decriminalisation. With a crippled economy, and an illegal, yet comparatively safe cash cow, there isn’t much of a decision to make.

Are you listening, Mr Cameron?