"I think it's a fatal blow to the already dying war on drugs," said Hannah Hetzer, policy manager for the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance. "If they do it right, other countries will follow their lead and we'll see a post-marijuana prohibition world."Perhaps most importantly, Uruguay already had a long history of legalized marijuana use.
Using the drug was already legal -- it's just selling weed, especially in large quantities, that runs afoul of the law.“Someone has to start revealing the taboos with regards to marijuana in Latin America. There are so many taboos to break. Uruguay, because it is a small country, can do it," Mujica said in a February interview. "Maybe I am wrong about this but if I am, give me another solution because prohibitionist policy failed and we have been repressing for 50 years and look at how Mexico is."
Despite his strong pro-legalization stance, Mujica has also said he's never in his life tried a joint.The U.S. may also have seen little threat from legalization in Uruguay. The country is far away from the front lines of the war on drugs in places like Mexico or Central America, at most a bit player in international trafficking.Thoughts?"There's so much interest in what Uruguay is doing, because there's so much awareness that our current approach isn't working," Hetzer said. "If Uruguay does this well, which I'm confident it will, there will be other countries that follow suit soon."