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Worldcrunch

O GLOBO (Brazil), EL PAÍS (Uruguay)

MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan president José "Pepe" Mujica wants to make his country the world's first to grow and sell pot.

With marijuana consumption already legal in Uruguay, Mujica says that drug-related crime continues to plague the country, and that handing over production and distribution to the government can help break the violence of drug traffickers.

"We are doing this for the young people, because the traditional approach hasn't worked" Mujica told the Brazilian O Globo newspaper. "People won't be able to buy any amount at any shop. The state will have control over quality, quantity, price, and consumers will have to register."

Those who violate state limits on purchasing the drug have to join a drug-rehabilitation program funded by profits from the marijuana sales. Individuals would not be allowed to sell pot, or grow their own plants.

If the proposed bill is passed in Congress, Uruguay will be the first country in the world to have a national government that sells marijuana to its citizens directly. Marijuana consumption is already legal in the South American nation, as well as a growing number of countries around the world.

State Secretary Alberto Breccia, admitted to a local radio station that he had smoked marijuana, which had made him feel "peace, tranquility and joy," according to Uruguayan daily El Pais. "It was a very enjoyable experience."

When asked about why he stopped smoking, Breccia said once was enough, adding he had received the drug as a gift, which he "gladly accepted." "To learn about certain issues, you have to experience them," he said.

The proposed law is part of 15 measures designed to combat crime.

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How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:

-OpEd-

Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

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