The newly sworn-in Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez's government is in no hurry to implement his predecessor's controversial world-first law allowing marijuana sales at pharmacies.
The new secretary of the National Drug Council, Milton Romani said, "I don't want to trap myself in time frames that cause us to make mistakes. We don't work with time frames, we work with guarantees so everything is done right. What's the hurry? We're in no hurry."
Both presidents hail from the left-wing Broad Front party, but they do not see eye to eye on the marijuana law. Under the proposed law, which passed in December 2013, marijuana users are supposed to be able to choose a supply source, pharmacies, cannabis clubs or home-grown plants, and buy or grow the drug in a fully legal, regulated market.
Cannabis clubs have been set up and land has been set aside for private growers to farm the plant on public fields. Bids have also been accepted from several companies seeking to supply marijuana to pharmacies. But pharmacy sales, the most controversial part of the initiative, have not yet been rolled out.
Milton Romani vowed the legislation would ultimately be fully implemented. He said, "The president instructed me that we are going to fulfill the law in the best possible way. So there will be pharmacy sales. When I took office, Tabare emphasized that the law is going to be implemented. The only thing he wants is for it to be implemented well."
Romani is set to travel to Vienna next week to defend the cannabis law at a meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which has questioned the plan.