The eastern South American nation of Uruguay has chosen a new path in its battle against drug traffickers: direct competition. Uruguay’s government will be invoking a new measure that not only legalizes marijuana, but will also allow the government to sell the drug in doses.
Only the government would be legally allowed to sell marijuana cigarettes, which would be made available to registered users. Local news outlets report that a limit would be set on how much of the drug can be purchased, and users found to be abusing the substance would be subject to drug rehabilitation.
Marijuana has never been outlawed in Uruguay, where drug possession of any sort for personal use has never been illegal. Instead, the new measure is designed to circumvent drug dealers making under-the-table profits within the country, and prevent the public from indulging in more dangerous drugs.
Uruguay has been identified as a large hub for South American traffickers looking to move drugs into Europe. In 2007, 458 kilograms of cocaine were seized in a single bust, the largest cargo ever intercepted there.