- marijuana vs. tobacco May 12
In Uruguay, it will soon be easier to grow your own marijuana plant than go to the store and buy a pack of cigarettes.
On May 6, the country's senate passed a law prohibiting the display of tobacco products, Vice reports, on the theory that if people don't see the items, they won't want them. On the same day, President José Mújica started formally regulating the consumption of marijuana, allowing — among other things — every resident to cultivate up to six marijuana plants each year, as well as buy marijuana in pharmacies. The goal, per Mújica, is to abolish the black market for pot.
Tobacco has long been a target of Uruguay's government, and in 2010, Philip Morris sued, claiming free-trade violations (the World Bank Tribunal agreed to hear arguments). One of the regulations the company didn't like was having to put health warnings covering 80 percent of each cigarette package; the World Bank Tribunal should deliver its verdict in 2015.
As for Uruguayans, most are taking a wait-and-see approach. "There is enormous uncertainty surrounding how this will all come about," a young woman who asked to be called Diana told Vice. "The only thing that is really certain is that people are smoking joints at 10 a.m. with incredible tranquility! All of Montevideo smells like pot. My neighbor already has eight plants."- - Catherine Garcia
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
- Don't blame Chuck Hagel: Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster from end to end
Subscribe to the Week