MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It's about 5200 air miles in distance between Washington DC and Montevideo, Uruguay, but the separation in terms of drug policies is about to become a whole lot wider.
Given the passage of a sweeping new law legalizing marijuana in the entire nation of Uruguay by their Congress on August 2 (with the apparent inevitable passage by the Uruguayan Senate this fall), the South American nation is likely to become the first nation to set the dominoes of a ruinous US drug war policy tumbling down.
As the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) website notes of this historic development:
The decision by Uruguay lawmakers to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana could signal the beginning of the end for the increasingly unpopular U.S.-led war on drugs, experts say.
"Uruguay being the first nation to engage in legalization and alternative drug policy could be kind of a tipping point," says Nathan Jones, a post-doctoral fellow at Rice University's James Baker Institute for Public Policy in Texas.
He says that Uruguay's move challenges "those international treaties that kind of hold the whole drug prohibition regime together."
On Wednesday, Uruguay's House of Deputies voted 96 to 50 in favour of a bill to legalize the production, commercialization and distribution of pot
Even corporate mainstream media ABC News called the move "game changing":
Uruguay is a tiny nation of three million people known mostly for its feisty soccer team and its juicy, sirloin steaks.
But legislators in that country got to do something with potential global repercussions on Wednesday, when they approved a marijuana law that could begin to change how the rest of the world deals with drugs...
This law resembles initiatives that were recently approved in Washington and Colorado. Except that this is a national law, which will make Uruguay the first country to fully legalize weed. (Holland, by contrast, has decriminalized consumption but not production or commerce. Although it somewhat tolerates these activities.)
We could list all our previous commentaries -- and those on the Truthout homepage -- linking the war on rrugs to many nefarious goals that have nothing to do with the alleged perils of pot, particularly the incarceration industry of black and latino males based on marijuana possession and sales. It's a big industry, and by that we mean the prison-industrial complex that must be fed by new minority (and some poor white) inmates. Many persons profit off of the $25,000 plus a year it costs to keep these monetized pawns in prison for weed, while liquor and prescribed medication cause more health problems, deaths and more expenses for treatment than all the US marijuana users combined.
The US war on drugs is a cynical slogan that results in tens of thousands killed south of the border and generations of minority males stigmatized into joblessness for life. And its use to project US power into other nations and expand market opportunities under the cover of fighting an alleged "righteous" war against "demon" drugs is the ultimate modern Machiavellian usurpation of empire.
"We know we are embarking on a cutting-edge experiment for the whole world," Uruguayan President Jose Mojica said upon passage of the bill in the nation's Congress.
The other foot of the US stomping on Uruguay to bury the forthcoming implementation of the law (after passage by the Senate controlled by the party in power) has yet to drop.
Because a nation not only cracking wide open the myth of marijuana-use destroying Western Civilization but gaining much-needed tax revenue to boot...well that might just show that the US empire wears no clothes of legitimacy when it comes to pot.
If that comes to happen, it may be enough for the White House errand boys of empire to light up a joint and restore justice to a harsh, deadly policy that harms the many and benefits the few.