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Uruguay Announces New Marijuana Regulations

A young man smokes marijuana during the World Day for the Legalization of Marijuana on May 3, 2014 in Montevideo.
A young man smokes marijuana during the World Day for the Legalization of Marijuana on May 3, 2014 in Montevideo. Photo by Miguel Rojo/AFP


Uruguay Announces New Marijuana Regulations

Effective this week, Uruguayan citizens will be able to legally purchase marijuana for adult use directly from the government. This makes Uruguay the first country in the world to regulate the growth, sale and consumption of cannabis.

A new government regulation agency, The Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis, has been tasked to oversee all aspects of the marijuana trade. The government, however, maintains a monopoly on the importation of seeds and plans to sell the cannabis at local pharmacies as it “only seems logical” – keeping with the notion of the medicinal effects of cannabis.

The law is strict in that only Uruguayan citizens, 18 years or older, who are registered with the agency are eligible to purchase cannabis. Registered users will be able to purchase up to 40 grams a month for personal use at the price of $1 a gram, which is slightly less than the black market price.

The government has also worked to provide a better cannabis product than what can be purchased on the street.  Activists pushing for legalization also commented that the Public Health Ministry of Uruguay is closely monitoring their plants to ensure that it is safe when compared to the imported street product, which can be harmful because of external substances. The government is providing a better product for less cost.

Registered users will also be able to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use and can form smoking clubs of 15 to 45 members that can grow up to 99 plants per year. Authorities plan on using state of the art technology to track every gram of marijuana sold. However, the information as well as registered users’ information is by law “confidential.”

One thing Mujica has made clear is that this “experiment” is for Uruguay and may not work for everyone else. Nor is he pushing for more consumption of cannabis – he simply wants to find a viable solution to a growing drug problem. He has stated that if this law does not work, it will be rolled back.

What do you think of Uruguay’s new legal marijuana regulations? Tell us in the comments below!


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