Uruguay puts legalised marijuana on hold until next year

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 12:04am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 12:04am


Uruguayan President Jose Mujica said legalised sales of marijuana by his government will be delayed until next year because of difficulties in implementing the controversial new law.

The South American country in December became the first in the world to announce that it would regulate the market for cannabis and its derivatives.

Direct marijuana sales to consumers would "go to next year", Mujica, 79, said on Wednesday. "There are practical difficulties."

Implementation of the law was supposed to start this year, with the government in charge of the entire supply chain, from growing to sales.

"If we want to do this sloppily, it is not hard to do that. That's what the United States is doing," Mujica said. "But if we want to get this right we are going to have to do it slowly.

"We are not just going to say: 'Hands off and let the market take care of it.' Because if the market is in charge, it is going to seek to sell the greatest possible amount," he said.

The new rules state that buyers must be 18, residents of Uruguay and registered with the authorities.