Uruguay is poised to create a state-licensed marijuana industry, after the country's lower house of Congress passed a controversial bill late Wednesday detailing how the government would regulate marijuana — from its production and import to marketing and distribution. The move would be a first.
NPR's South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro tells our Newscast unit that the landmark bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to sail through.
Increasing drug use and narcotrafficking has made some Latin American countries among the most violent places on Earth. But tiny, progressive Uruguay, where it's always been legal to use marijuana, is leading the way with an alternative drug policy.
The government of President Jose Mujica has proposed a law that would put the state in charge of producing and selling marijuana to registered users.
Uruguayan lawmakers have very narrowly approved a bill allowing women limited access to abortion. As the Los Angeles Times reports, it's a big change for a country that outlaws the procedure. Should it take effect, Uruguayan women can legally terminate their pregnancies in the first 12 weeks.
Uruguay boasts that it has the longest Carnival celebration not just in Latin America, but the world. The 40-day celebration is dotted with makeshift stages all around the capital city of Montevideo for performances of choral music called murga. Murga is both entertainment and a sociopolitical commentary that survived the military dictatorship of the 1970s.