In an attempt to lower crime and raise government revenue, Uruguay is planning on legalizing marijuana. Currently, it is legal to possess less than 25 grams of cannabis, but it is illegal to grow or sell it.
If the proposal passes, Uruguay’s government would oversee the growth and distribution of the $75 million business. Buyers would be required to register with the government.
“It’s a fight on both fronts: against consumption and drug trafficking,” said defense minister Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro. “We think the prohibition of certain drugs is creating more problems for society than the drugs themselves.”
Congress must approve the proposal, but Julio Calzada, secretary-general of the National Drugs Board in Uruguay, thinks there is a good chance it will pass. “We have hopes that legislators from all four parties can support the measure,” he said.
But some marijuana users have a different opinion. “People who consume are not going to buy it from the state,” said marijuana smoker Natalia Pereira. “They’re going to be mistrust buying it from a place where you have to register and they can typecast you.”