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Uruguay lawmakers consider creating "Cannabis Institute" with goal of outselling pot dealers

Uruguay is one step closer to turning the government into the country's leading pot dealer.

The proposal formally introduced to Congress on Thursday would create a National Cannabis Institute with the power to license people and companies to produce marijuana for recreational, medical or industrial uses.

It also would allow anyone to grow as many as to six pot plants and produce up to 480 grams (17 ounces) of marijuana in their own homes.

People could join clubs of up to 15 marijuana users who together could grow up to 90 plants and stockpile 7,200 grams of marijuana a year. The identity of buyers would remain protected by law.

Ruling party Deputy Sebastian Sabini says the proposals now in committee are likely to pass Congress by year's end.