MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Uruguay’s national government said Wednesday it hopes to fight a growing crime problem by selling marijuana to citizens registered to buy it, and will send a bill to Congress that would make 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, letting officials keep track of their purchases over time.
Minister of Defense Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro told reporters 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.
“We’re shifting toward a stricter state control of the distribution and production of this drug,” Fernandez said. “It’s a fight on both fronts: against consumption and drug trafficking. We think the prohibition of some drugs is creating more problems to society than the drug itself.”
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.