Uruguay President Tells UN Official to Stop Lying

February 20, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. marijuana /ˌmærəˈwɑnə/ (n.) – a plant that is dried and smoked; considered as an illegal drug
Example:  The use of marijuana and other narcotics is not allowed in most countries.

2. slam /slæm/ (v.) – to criticize negatively
Example: World leaders slammed Uruguay’s marijuana legalization.

3. regulated /ˈrɛgyəˌleɪtɪd/ (adj.) – strictly controlled or administered based on a rule or law
Example: Only a few countries and states allow regulated marijuana use.

4. assertion /əˈsɜrʃən/ (n.) – strong statement or declaration
Example: Many people believe that the candidate’s assertions are true.

5. backlash /ˈbækˌlæʃ/ (n.) – a very negative reaction
Example: The prisoner’s release drew backlash from the victims.


Read the text below.
Uruguay’s [YOOR-uh-gwahy] president called the United Nations chief of International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) a liar.

After becoming the first country to fully legalize marijuana, Uruguay has faced tons of criticisms. INCB chief Raymond Yans has specifically slammed the country’s decision, claiming that the president did not consult the UN before legalizing the use of the drug.

However, Uruguay president Jose Mujica [ho-seh MOO-heeka] rejected Yans’ claim. Mujica argued that he is willing to discuss the law with anyone. He even said that Yans can visit and talk to him about the law anytime.

The Uruguayan [yoor-uh-GWEY-uhn, -GWAHY-uhn] Senate passed the law that allows a government-controlled marijuana production. With the law, marijuana consumers are required to register with the government and are allowed to smoke only up to 40 grams per month.

The legalization of the weed aims to stop criminals from doing illegal marijuana business. Also, the government hopes to save the budget spent on police drug operations, since the marijuana use will already be regulated.

According to Yans, Uruguay violated the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, a treaty which the country is a part of. Mujica questioned this assertion as the US states of Colorado and Washington were able to legalize marijuana without receiving backlash from the UN. He thus asked if Yans has one rule for Uruguay and different rules for strong countries like the US.

Mujica’s wife, a member of the Uruguayan Senate, cited that Yans also has issues with some European countries and has scheduled meetings with them. For her, discussion on marijuana is less important than other issues.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of the legalization of marijuana use? Kindly explain.
·         What do you think are the disadvantages of this law? Please discuss briefly.

Discussion B

·         Why do you think people use illegal drugs?
·         How can drug addiction be lessened or prevented?


February 20, 2014