Calzada: Discussing Free Cannabis

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February 14, 2013
El Pais

English Translation

The secretary general of the Junta Nacional de Drogas of Uruguay, Julio Calzada, thinks that the suggestion by the president of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ), Jorge Ruibal Pino, to offer free marijuana to registered consumers that voluntarily agree to medical controls “can be debated.”

“The free distribution can be debated and we are willing to evaluate it,” Calzada told El Pais. In any case, he said that the Executive already sent a bill to parliament to create the National Cannabis Institute, which will be in charge of controlling the production and sale of marijuana.

“In these complex and controversial issues, we must be open to consider all options that appear reasonable and the opinion of the President and the Supreme Court is important,” said Calzada.

He explained that, at first, cannabis should be sold at a cost similar to the black market; otherwise the initiative will not achieve the aim of regulating and avoiding illegal sale.

Yesterday, in an interview with Radio Universal, Ruibal Pino said that the idea to legalize the sale of marijuana to combat the consumption of pasta base (cocaine paste) “doesn’t seem like a bad idea.”

“This is not new but we must be careful with how we explain to people that we want those who currently consume pasta base to now consume marijuana. We have to explain the fundamentals,” said Ruibal Pino.

However, Ruibal Pino underlined a difference to the bill drafted by the Executive. He thinks that the state should provide free marijuana to addicts that register and comply with corresponding medical checks.

In this way, “the addict will not have to steal or find money and does not have to go to the black market to search for pasta base,” explained the president of the SCJ.

“What is essential is that the addict registers and gets checked by the doctor. Afterwards, the state selling or giving them marijuana is the same,” he said.

Ruibal Pino noted that “there are many ways of consuming marijuana without smoking it,” which makes it more dangerous. He said, for example, in Chile there is a magazine that publishes recipes to cook with cannabis.

View the article in Spanish.

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