Uruguay's president, José “Pepe” Mujica, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by the Dutch activist organization, the Drugs Peace Institute. Thanks to Mujica, in April, his country will be the first to completely legalize marijuana.
"It is a promise to bridge the gap between defiant marijuana consumers and the prohibiting society," the Institute wrote to the Nobel committee about the legislation when nominating Mujica.
"Hopefully, the start of the acceptance of this consumption by society and the concomitant development of understanding of its use as a natural medicine, historically used for spiritual liberation, might initiate a process of healing in a world confused and deeply divided over its religious legacy."
The institute can nominate President Mujica under the statutes of the Nobel Foundation as it qualifies due to its status as a peace research institute. The Drugs Peace Institute believes that ending the prohibition of marijuana will lead to easier access to the drug for medical purposes and that legalizing marijuana will be a tool leading to greater "peace and understanding" in the world.
The Nobel Peace Prize, one of five Nobel prizes, is awarded annually on Dec. 10 according to the dictates of the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel. In his will, Nobel said the prize, administered by a five-member Norwegian committee, shall go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
Nobel Peace Prize: more than one winner
More than one can be named and organizations can also be winners (the Red Cross has won the Nobel Peace Prize three times). The Drugs Peace Institute said that by working to free his country from the shackles of marijuana prohibition, Mujica has taken on a big role in the search for peace and even implied he has made himself a religious leader.
"Jose Mujica once said that he’s been looking for god but (has not) found him yet," the institute wrote. "By legalizing marijuana and opening the doors of spiritual happiness to the young, he might not have found the god of other nations but...has followed in the footsteps of Jesus when he said ‘Let the children come to me."
President Mujica thanked the "people for honoring me" with the peace prize nomination. If the president, who spent 14 years in jail during Uruguay's days under a dictator and lives in a farmhouse instead of the presidential palace, should win he would become the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to gain his prize for work in legalizing marijuana.