While the Netherlands returns to its Puritan roots closing the once famed (and expensive) coffee shops and returning the trade of the inspirational drug to the underground and the mafias, Uruguay moves ahead and will legalize the state-controlled production and sale of marihuana.
This was one of 15 measures to fight crime proposed by the government of President Mújica, the first Uruguayan President to live in a slum (he's also vegetarian and former guerrilla leader).
The new legal scheme is expected to reduce the consumption of hard drugs and the thriving of mafias by removing potential customers from the black market. However, unlike what happens in other countries, individuals would not be allowed to grow the plant for their own consumption. It is in this sense a legal frame similar to that of tobacco in many countries: where production and trade is only allowed under strict state supervision and individuals can't grow their own tobacco privately.
It is estimated that some 5% of Uruguayans are regular users of the soft drug, while 1/5 of adults admitted having used it at some point in their lives.
Other proposals are increased penalties for corrupt police officers, crack and cocaine trafficking and juvenile offenders.
Source: Al Jazeera.
I must say that I'm not in full agreement with all the aspects of these measures but I do welcome the legalization of cannabis in any case (if such addictive drugs as tobacco, caffeine or alcohol are legal, why to attack marihuana, which is comparatively harmless).
See also: Erowid: Cannabis.