Uruguayans Get New Pot Dealer: Their Government

Country is first to fully legalize marijuana
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2013 12:16 AM CST
Uruguayans Get New Pot Dealer: Their Government
Activists gather in support of the legalization of marijuana outside the Congress building in Montevideo, Uruguay.   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

Marijuana legalization has been taken to the next level in Uruguay, where lawmakers have voted to make the government the first in the world to oversee the growing, distribution, and sale of the drug. The pioneering law, which takes effect in April, will allow registered users over 18 to buy a maximum of 40 grams of weed a month for $1 a gram from licensed pharmacies, Reuters reports. Smokers also have the option of growing up to six marijuana plants in their home—or joining clubs that can grow up to 99 plants a year.

The push for legalization was spearheaded by President José Mujica, who says he is against drug consumption but wants to take the business away from violent drug cartels. To prevent drug tourism, only residents will be allowed to buy weed legally and the government has promised to take steps to stop people from exporting legally-bought marijuana to neighboring countries, the BBC reports. "This won't be a weed-for-all country," Mujica says. (More Uruguay stories.)

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