June 21, 2012 in Nation/World

Uruguay proposes federal pot sales

Bill aims to remove profit for criminals
Pablo Fernandez Associated Press
 

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Uruguay’s national government said Wednesday it plans to send a bill to Congress that would allow it to sell marijuana, making it the first country in the world to do so.

Under the plan, only the government would be allowed to sell marijuana and only to adults who register on a government database when buying the drug to keep track of their purchases over time.

Minister of Defense Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro told reporters at a press conference in Montevideo that the measure aims to weaken crime in the country by removing profits from drug dealers and diverting users from harder drugs.

He said the bill would be sent to Congress soon, but an exact date had not been set.

Uruguayan newspapers have reported that money from taxes on marijuana sold by the government would go toward rehabilitating drug addicts. The government did not provide details.

There are no laws against marijuana use in Uruguay. Possession of the drug for personal use has never been criminalized.

But some Uruguayans wondered how successful such a measure could be.

“People who consume are not going to buy it from the state,” said Natalia Pereira, 28, adding that she smokes marijuana occasionally. There is “going to be mistrust buying it from a place where you have to register and they can typecast you,” she said.

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