15 December 2013, 10:52

Uruguayan leader defends marijuana law, accuses INCB head of lying

Jose Mujica

Jose Mujica

Jose Mujica

Uruguay President Jose Mujica has accused Raymond Yans, head of the UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) of lying after the latter scolded Uruguay for failing to consult the INCB about its plans to legalize marijuana.

Earlier this week, Uruguay became the world’s first country to legalize the production, sale and consumption of the drug - a "surprising" move which, Yans said, violates the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs which Uruguay is part of. Uruguay should have first consulted the INCB, he said.

Mujica made an angry retort. "Tell that old man to stop lying. Let him come to Uruguay and meet me whenever he wishes… Anybody can meet and talk to me, and whoever says he couldn’t meet with me tells lies, blatant lies. Because he sits in a comfortable international platform, he believes he can say whatever nonsense," he said on Uruguay’s Canal 2 television.

Mujica lashed out at Yans for not saying a word about the US states of Colorado and Washington which had also legalized marijuana. He accused the INCB chief of double standards. "Does he have different rules: one for Uruguay and other for the world’s strongest countries?" Mujica asked.

First lady Lucia Topolansky, a member of the Uruguayan Senate, fully backed her husband on the issue.

"I think he's crossed the line," she said, commenting on Yans’ statement.

On Monday, the Uruguayan Senate passed a landmark bill allowing a government-controlled marijuana market. There is no doubt that President Mujica, a long-standing supporter of the bill, will sign it into law.

People wishing to smoke marijuana recreationally need to register with the authorities and limit their consumption to 40 grams per month. The bill also allows individuals to grow up to six plants of marijuana and possess as many as 480 grams for personal use.

The government thus hopes to take profits away from criminals and reduce drug control spending.

Voice of Russia, RT

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