December 10, 2013 9:40 pm
Updated: December 10, 2013 9:43 pm

Uruguay green-lights world’s 1st national marketplace for legal marijuana

Marcelo Vazquez, a marijuana grower, checks the leaves of his marijuana plants for fungus, on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.

Matilde Campodonico/AP Photo
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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Uruguay’s Senate has approved the world’s first national marketplace for legal marijuana, an audacious and risky plan that puts the government in charge of growing, selling and using a drug that is illegal almost everywhere else.

Tuesday’s vote was 16 to 13, with the governing Broad Front majority united in favour. It now awaits the signature of President Jose Mujica, who wants the market to begin operating next year.

Polls say two-thirds of Uruguayans are opposed to a government-run marijuana industry. But Mujica says he’s convinced the global drug war is a failure and feels bureaucrats can do a better job of containing addictions and beating organized crime than police and soldiers.

© 2013 The Associated Press

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