Uruguay’s government may go into drug sales business

Uruguay’s national government could become the first in the world to directly sell marijuana to the general public.

President Jose Mujica will send a bill to lawmakers calling for the government to sell the drug only to people who are registered on an official database.

Defense Minister Fernández Huidobro told reporters Wednesday the bill is aimed at fighting rising crime in the South American nation, by removing illegal drug profits from dealers and diverting users from harder drugs such as cocaine.

Government figures show there were 133 homicides in Uruguay between January and May, an increase of 70 percent from the same period in 2011.

It is not illegal in Uruguay to either use or possess marijuana.

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