Uruguayan official defends drug policy during Mexico visit

Mexico City, Mar 7 (EFE).- It is time to implement a new anti-drug policy that reduces violence via marijuana legalization and other measures, Uruguayan Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi said during a visit to Mexico City.

"The war on drugs has failed and now we have to find another path," Bonomi told Efe.

The interior minister was in the Mexican capital to attend the closed-door "Citizens Safety, Drug Policy and Arms Control" seminar.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica's administration has sent Congress a bill to legalize marijuana and regulate the production, distribution and sale of the drug.

Under the legislation, the government would regulate the importation, production, storage, distribution and sale of marijuana and its derivatives.

Uruguay's government expects that legalization "could work in other places," Bonomi said.

Drug legalization will help reduce the violence that is currently ravaging many countries in Latin America, the interior minister said.

The Uruguayan government's strategy calls for making it easier to acquire soft drugs, like marijuana, while punishing and making it more difficult to use hard drugs, such as coca paste, which entered Uruguay in 2002 and led to a wave of robberies and violence, Bonomi said.