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Is Cannabis Legal in Uruguay?
Yes. Uruguay marijuana legislation is in effect and this South American country permits the use of recreational weed.
When Did Uruguay Legalize Weed?
Uruguay became the first country to legalize weed when President Jose “Pepe” Mujica signed the bill into law in December 2013 that legalized cannabis in the nation of 3.5 million. The Uruguay legal weed movement was a pioneering effort that set the stage for Canada to become the second nation to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018.
However, since the groundbreaking legislation of Uruguay marijuana was passed, the road to bringing it to the public has been uneven and at times completely stalled.
In March 2018, the Brookings Institution studied the opportunities and challenges of legalization in the South American country. The researchers found that the current regulatory framework was insufficient to displace the illicit market.
Most Uruguayan banks, for instance, have refused to do business with marijuana organizations fearing that they will be sanctioned or refused business from United States financial institutions and United Nations members that classify marijuana as an illegal drug.
Even four years after the law was passed, only 17 of 1,000 government pharmacies offered cannabis because of pressure from banks. Those that do must sell on a cash basis.
However, Canada’s legalization of recreational marijuana may pave the way for Uruguayan banks and pharmacies to do business with its financial institutions. Efforts by the World Health Organization to reclassify marijuana and acknowledge medicinal benefits are also hopeful signs for the future of the legal cannabis industry in the country.
Political changes also have slowed availability. The current president, Tabaré Vázquez, is a physician and considers marijuana to be dangerous. Also, the Ministry of Health and the National Police have been uneven in their policies and enforcement.
Where is it Safe to Purchase and Consume?
In accordance with Uruguay drug laws , cannabis is available to Uruguayan citizens and permanent residents 18 and older. Cannabis is not available for sale to tourists. Cannabis can be purchased only at government-run pharmacies. Individuals can purchase up to 40 grams, or 1.4 ounces, per month; according to subsequent regulations, the limit is 10 grams, or 0.35 ounces, per week..
Uruguay’s cannabis law forbids cannabis use in indoor public spaces where tobacco use is prohibited. Uruguay prohibits any form of advertising or promotion.
Nonmedical users must register to buy marijuana and choose only one of the three legal forms of cannabis supply: home growing, clubs, or commercial purchase.
When the law was passed, pharmacies were not required to sell cannabis and most chose not to opt into the system, leading to long lines at the pharmacies that do provide marijuana.
The government is considering creating designated dispensaries.
View the marijuana laws & regulations for Uruguay.