It's a policy that would be a hammer blow to criminal gangs. It would stop criminalising non-violent people, drastically undermine racist policing, be good for people's health and it would save lives. But while a mainstream British politician is more likely to have smoked cannabis than to propose its legalisation, the courageous Uruguayan government has done just that.
Uruguay made a pragmatic choice. It could continue to leave cannabis production and sale in the hands of violent criminal gangs, or the state could take it over and regulate it properly. “A regulated market that is visible has greater oversight than prohibition,” as Diego Canepa, the president of the Uruguay's National Drug Board, has put it. Uruguayans who register on a national database can buy up to 40g of pot from a pharmacy, and adults are now allowed to grow up to eight marijuana plants each.