MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - The Associated Press
Marijuana legalization advocates and members of community groups attend a rally against marijuana arrests in front of One Police Plaza on June 13, 2012 in New York City. AFP photo
Uruguay has announced that it plans to send a bill to Congress to legalize marijuana sales as a crime-fighting measure.
The government would have a monopoly over the distribution and sales of the drug, which could be sold only to adults registered as users.
Minister of Defense Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro told reporters at a press conference in Montevideo the measure aims to weaken crime in the country by removing profits from drug dealers and diverting users from harder drugs.
Uruguayan newspapers had reported that money from taxes on marijuana cigarettes sold by the government will go toward rehabilitating drug addicts. The government did not provide details.
There are no laws against marijuana use in Uruguay. Possession of the drug for personal use has never been criminalized.