Marijuana is legal in Uruguay but it is going to be extremely regulated. The Uruguayan government finally released the rules which will govern their new recreational marijuana system. The legalization law was adopted in December. Uruguayan residents age 18 and over will need to register with the government if they want to gain legal access to marijuana. Tourists will not be able to register. Registered users will have three options for obtaining marijuana:
- They can grow up to six plants at home.
- They can join a small cannabis club that will run a collective garden with up to 99 plants. Clubs will be limited to 45 members.
- They can buy marijuana from a licensed pharmacy.
There are also tight restrictions on advertising and selling marijuana; any other way is prohibited. Individuals will also be limited to purchasing only 10 grams of marijuana per week. Government officials have stated the plan is to sell marijuana for roughly $1 a gram to undermine the black market, but requiring people to register might hurt that goal if enough users feel unconformable taking that step. The rest of Latin America is going to be closely watching the experiment set to begin in Uruguay. If things go well it could become the catalyst for change in the region.
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy
Photo by Matt Hintsa under Creative Commons license