Uruguay’s president has accused the head of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) of lying and double standards, after the official claimed the country did not consult the anti-drug body before legalizing marijuana.
Earlier this week, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize both the sale and production of marijuana.
INCB chief Raymond Yans has slammed the “surprising” move, accusing the South American state of legalizing the drug without first discussing it with the UN organization.
Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica, rejected the criticism on Friday, saying that he’s ready to discuss the law with anyone.
“Tell that old man to stop lying,” Mujica said in an interview with Uruguay’s Canal 4.
“Let him come to Uruguay and meet me whenever he wishes… Anybody can meet and talk to me, and whoever says he couldn't meet with me tells lies, blatant lies."
“Because he sits in a comfortable international platform, he believes he can say whatever nonsense,” he added.
Yans has accused Uruguay of “pirate attitudes” for knowingly violating the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which the South American country is part of.
But Mujica reminded that Yans did not say a word about the US states of Colorado and Washington, which also legalized marijuana.
"Does he have different rules: one for Uruguay and other for the world’s strong countries?” he asked.
First lady Lucia Topolansky, a member of the Uruguayan Senate, has fully backed her husband on the issue.
“Who is this fellow who likes to call names to countries?” she said of Yans. “I think he's crossed the line, but anyhow I believe that he has had problems with other countries, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and they will be meeting him sometime in March.”
“But to be honest, marijuana is not the heart of life or earthly issues,” Topolansky added.
The law, which allows for a government-controlled marijuana market, was passed by the Uruguayan Senate on Monday.
According to the legislation, those wishing to smoke cannabis recreationally need to register with the authorities and limit their consumption to 40 grams per month.
President Mujica and his supporters argue that regulating marijuana consumption and production will remove profits from criminals and allow less money to be spent on soldiers and police, who are ultimately unable to prevent Uruguayan citizens from using the drug.