Uruguay is planning a novel approach to fighting its rising crime: having its government sell marijuana to take drug profits out of the hands of dealers. Under the plan backed by President Jose Mujica's leftist administration, only the government would be allowed to sell marijuana and only to adults who register on a government database, letting officials keep track of their purchases over time. Profits would reportedly go toward rehabilitating drug addicts.
Latin American leaders have begun to rebel against rigid drug prohibition and the decades-long "war" on drugs. So when Uruguay’s government this month released a document suggesting it would legalise and take control of the sale of cannabis in the country, this seemingly bold step attracted much media attention. Not so fast: the proposal amounts to one line in a 20-page report on the government’s strategy for tackling rising crime. Nevertheless, something is stirring in Uruguay.
On Wednesday 31st July 2013, the Uruguayan House of Representatives approved a marijuana regulation bill, bringing it one step closer to becoming the first country in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana.