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Wed Jul 31, 2013, 10:29 PM

Uruguay Congress Debates Marijuana Legalization


"Legislators in Uruguay hotly debated on Wednesday a measure backed by leftist President Jose Mujica that would create a government body to control the cultivation and sale of marijuana and allow people to grow it at home or as part of smoking clubs.

The use of marijuana is already legal in the South American nation, but sale and cultivation of it is not. A vote on the bill - expected to be very close - was due later on Wednesday in the lower chamber of Congress. If it passes, the measure would then go to the upper chamber for consideration.

Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla fighter, says the measure would control the marijuana trade under strict guidelines, help undermine drug-smuggling gangs and fight petty crime.

To avoid making the country a drug tourism destination, only Uruguayans would be allowed to use marijuana under the measure."

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