Even drug-friendly European nations have not done what Uruguay is considering: nationalize marijuana production.
Under a controversial plan proposed by President José Mujica, Uruguay would create a state monopoly over the production and sale of marijuana, making it the first government in the world to sell the drug directly to citizens.
Supporters say the radical move would reduce drug-related crime, decrease health risks among users and be more effective than the U.S.-touted war on drugs, which is wearing thin in countries other than the United States.
Most Uruguayans are not ready to support the plan, with only 40% in favor. United Nations officials have objected to the idea, saying it would put the country in violation of a 1961 convention on narcotics.