“Justice means minding one’s own business and not meddling with other men’s concerns.” – Plato

As we patiently bide our time in the U.S. waiting for the cannabis legalization tide to turn, other countries are foregoing the moral and political nonsense that stands in the way of normalization.

Two weeks ago, Uruguay, a small South American country with a past history of political repression and Catholic patriarchy, quietly voted in favor of allowing the sale of state regulated pot for recreational use.

Soon, Uruguayans will be able to head to their local pharmacy to buy weed. This marks the last step in an effort to legalize the production, sale and consumption of pot set forth by a 2013 law.

Though buyers will have to submit to fingerprinting in order to sign up for the cannabis registry and are limited to buying 1.4 ounces a month, which will cost approximately $52, this signifies the clear acceptance of weed as a recreational substance.

As with many laws, other countries seem to embrace progress and not to look back. In 2012, Uruguay legalized same-sex marriage and abortion, issues that conservatives still struggles with here, and which seem to exemplify a larger problem in the American mindset.

Politicians would have us believe that there are many difficulties involved in the legalization of cannabis, yet when compared to other countries, what the U.S. seems to wrestle with most is freedom of choice and privacy.

Our puritanical roots seem to get the best of us. Rather than respecting the rights of citizens to choose, we are inclined to favor our individual right to have an opinion about the actions of others, even when they don’t affect us in the least.

And while we turn a blind eye to many injustices that negatively impact our brethren, when it comes to policing the lives of our neighbors, we are more than willing to put in our two cents.

So as we continue to debate the pros and cons of marijuana legalization, perhaps we should also consider the inherent benefits of minding our own business.

Mark Lugris is a writer and owner of a web design and communications agency. Born in Derby, Connecticut, Mark grew up in the U.S. and Spain. He attended the University of Connecticut, graduating in 1995 with a B.A. in English and Creative Writing, as well as a Certification in Photography. In his career, Mark has worked as a reporter, editor and public relations and communications manager, and has owned his own lifestyle magazine, PopGuide, in Madrid, Spain. A self-described pop culture junkie and eternal optimist, Mark’s worldview and writing have been shaped by his experience abroad. In his weekly Leaf of the Week column, he explores marijuana legalization as a global movement driven by the fundamental freedoms of choice and privacy. Mark currently lives in Connecticut.