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article imageOp-Ed: Jose Mujica world's 'poorest president' legalizes marijuana

By Ken Hanly     Oct 28, 2013 in Politics
Montevideo - Uruguay will become the first country to entirely legalize marijuana once the legalization law passes the Senate later this year. Mujica's bill would license and enforce rules for production, distribution, and sale of marijuana for adult consumers.
Mujica hopes that Uruguay can act as a test case for the theory that the legalization and regulation of some drugs is a superior policy to that of keeping it illegal fostering a drug war and violence by cartels throughout the region.
Jose Mujica has been nicknamed the "world's poorest president" because of his simple even austere lifestyle and because he keeps only ten per cent of his presidential salary: He has been described as "the world's 'poorest' president", as he donates around 90 percent of his $12,000 monthly salary to charities to benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs.
Mujica was a member of the leftist Tupamaros guerrilla movement in Uruguay. He was shot several times by the police and jailed for over a decade. His wife was also a Tupamaros member: In 2005, Mujica married LucĂ­a Topolansky, a fellow Tupamaro member and current senator, after many years of co-habitation. They have no children and live on an austere farm in the outskirts of Montevideo where they cultivate chrysanthemums as an economic activity, having declined to live in the opulent presidential palace or use its staff. His humble lifestyle is reflected by his choice of an aging Volkswagen Beetle as transport. His wife owns the farm they live on.
A recent speech before the UN General Assembly that denounced excessive materialism generated global attention. He said in part: "We have sacrificed the old immaterial Gods, and now we are occupying the temple of the Market-God. He organises our economy, our politics, our habits, our lives and even provides us with rates and credit cards and gives us the appearance of happiness. It seems that we have been born only to consume, and to consume, and when we can no longer consume, we have a feeling of frustration and we suffer from poverty, and we are auto marginalised."
Mujica says that those who describe him as the poorest president are the real poor ones. He says those who are really poor are those who need too much since they are never satisfied. Even in his speech Mujica never wastes words. Some claim that his style is unpresidential but to many people it is another reason to respect him. I have appended a video of Mujica in an Al Jazeera interview.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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