Marijuana enthusiasts in Uruguay rejoiced in celebration on Wednesday as pharmacies across the country started selling pot legally.
The historic day was the culmination of a long journey that started in 2013 when the parliament approved a landmark law to allow the legal sale of cannabis.
Uruguay is home to over 3.4 million people and for long has suffered due to various drug problems that had infested the country.
But over time, the government decided that by shifting the popular pot market away from criminals and into its own hands, federal entities would able to regulate its sale while also reducing drug-related crimes rates.
History of Marijuana in Uruguay
The journey began in 2012 when a proposal was put forward by former president Jose Mujica that lined up support for the country’s LGBT community, women’s rights groups, trade unions and many more organizations that benefit the citizenry.
At the same time, people came together from all walks of life under the message of “Responsible Regulation” to voice their opinions on the need to initiate the legal sale of pot in the country.
The government saw it fit to approve and pass the law to legally sell marijuana and finally did so in 2013.
However, the implementation of the law took a long time to complete, due to opposition from various fractions of the government and because of logistical barriers.
Though the journey had been a long one, it has finally come to pass this month.
Who Can Legally Buy Marijuana?
Since last Wednesday, any citizen in the country above the age of 18 can register and purchase marijuana from various pharmacies across the nation.
Each adult has the right to purchase up to 40 grams or 1.41 ounces of marijuana every month for recreational or personal purposes.
Citizens who are registered can buy sealed packets containing 5 grams for only $6.50 from official vendors.
Every gram is worth roughly $1.30 and on each sale, 90 cents goes to the businesses that cultivate the plant. The rest of the amount is split between the pharmacy and the government.
Restrictions for Marijuana
The model for legal marijuana in Uruguay is very different from the one in the United States, due to a variety of reasons.
Regulation of marijuana varies according to local issues and context. Different countries have different models based on what works for them.
Uruguay’s model currently allows four types of access. The Ministry of Public Health is responsible for medical marijuana.
Domestic cultivation of cannabis is limited to a maximum of six plants per household, but membership clubs are allowed to have up to 45 members producing a maximum of 99 plants.
Marijuana regulation will be performed by the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA).
The law also states that selling to minors is prohibited and punishable. Any and all forms of advertisement regarding the sale of marijuana is also banned.
Marijuana lovers can also choose between their favorite types of pot. Currently, there are two brands available: One is the “Alfa 1,” which helps relax the user, while “Beta1” is more for people who like to feel energized.
The government is also taking steps to ensure that the legal marijuana for sale is prevented from being exported to foreign buyers.
According to authorities, over 5,000 people have already registered as marijuana users in the country.
Marijuana reform laws have gone through remarkable journeys all over the world.
In the last decade, 29 states in the U.S. along with Puerto Rico legalized medical marijuana, Chile approved marijuana cultivation for medical purposes and Canada is set to legalize the sale of cannabis soon.
Last week was a historic moment for marijuana lovers all over the world as Uruguay rose to be the first country in the world to fully legalize pot.
It might have been a long time coming, but it’s here and it’s not going anywhere any time soon.
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