People march for the legalization of marijuana towards the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, on December 10, 2013, as the Senate discuss a law on the legalization of marijuana's cultivation and consumption. Uruguays parliament is to vote Tuesday a project that would make the country the first to legalize marijuana, an experiment that seeks to confront drug trafficking. The initiative launched by 78-year-old Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, a former revolutionary leader, would enable the producti
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- 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 favor. 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.