Updated 25/10/2018 – Marijuana is now legal in Uruguay, for more information, check out our article.
Uruguay is to become the first country in the world to have a system regulating legal production, sale and consumption of marijuana.
The ground-breaking regulations came into effect on Tuesday after an announcement from Uruguayan President Jose Mujica.
The state has announced its intentions to regulate the market ‘from beginning to end’, starting with strict cultivation rules and pricing.
Presidential aide Diego Canepa laid out the guidelines to the media on Friday;
- Towards the end of November, early December (2014), the sale of marijuana will already be available in the country through pharmacies.
- A gram of marijuana would cost between 20 (£0.51) and 22 pesos (£0.55)
- The use of marijuana will be allowed in most public places where tobacco smoking is permitted – but not at workplaces.
- Drivers caught “smoke-driving” will be subject to the same penalties as those under the influence of alcohol.
Despite the revolutionary change in legality, foreigners will not be able to travel to Uruguay to use marijuana, with warnings from the state that anyone selling, consuming or distributing must be licensed.
In fact, the government were keen to indicate that the legal changes were not a free-for-all but a way of constructing rules that will refocus state efforts on prevention and most importantly, taking the market away from the hands of ‘ruthless’ drug-traffickers that only care about financial gain.
Julio Rey, the founder of a cannabis club and a spokesman for the National Association for the Regulation of Marijuana, stated, “We will take care of the tools of this law to demonstrate that we, as the public, can objectively look at this project and comply with its proposed legality,“.
Uruguay will now be watched closely by others who are considering dramatic changes to marijuana laws. The South American country will be considered a pilot model for the legalisation of cannabis on a national scale.