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Marijuana Plant
Marijuana Plant

MONTEVIDEO, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez said Monday that the marijuana market regulation, which has been in force in the country since 2010, does not encourage the substance's consumption.

"The fact that the marijuana trade has been regulated does not mean it is encouraging its consumption," said the president while in the western city of Fray Bentos, cited on Monday by the government's official media service.

"Taking drugs is not necessary, the human body does not need them, apart from when a properly trained professional is prescribing them for a particular illness," said the president during a news conference.

"We need to lead a healthy life, do sport, eat well and enjoy life. Drugs are not needed in any of this," said the president who is also an oncologist by profession and has headed an unwavering anti-tobacco campaign since his first term in office (2005-2010).

Producing and marketing marijuana is authorized in Uruguay under state supervision, according to a law from 2013. At the same time, self-cultivation is allowed if the user is registered before the Cannabis Regulation and Control Institute (Ircca).

Currently over 3,000 people are self-growers registered with Ircca. They can grow up to six female plants per household.

The 17 membership clubs which are also contemplated for in the law, can have up to 99 plants.

Uruguay's government assigned the growing of marijuana to two private companies in October 2015 and announced that cannabis would be sold in pharmacies from 2016.