Understated and simpatico, former Uruguayan president Jose Mujica isn’t easily rattled. Just don’t mess with his reefer.
That was the message from Montevideo last week when a state-owned lender, Banco Republica, followed several private banks in shutting down accounts of clients who deposited money from marijuana sales — a direct blow to the Mujica era’s marquee policy of making Uruguay the first country to legalize the smoking, growing and selling of marijuana nationwide.
The 82-year-old leader, who now serves in the senate, was furious. He threatened to sandbag the legislative agenda and called for the economy minister — who’d served alongside Mujica as vice president — to resign if the authorities failed to come up with a solution. “Otherwise we’re going to have a fight.”
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