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Uruguay's Legal Marijuana Policy En Route to Next Phase of Regulation

As government opens registry for pharmacists wishing to sell marijuana, sales through pharmacies are expected to begin in the second half of this year.

The first country in the world to legalize marijuana sales was Uruguay, a tiny South American nation with a population of only 3.3 million wedged between Brazil and Argentina.


Uruguay’s Half-Baked Marijuana Experiment

The small South American nation is the world's first country to legalize marijuana. But just because the drug is legal to buy doesn't mean you can buy it legally.

PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay — In December 2013, Uruguay offered itself as the world’s leading laboratory for marijuana policy. That month, the Latin American nation of some 3.5 million people became the first country to legalize and regulate the cultivation, sale, and consumption of the drug, turning itself into an outlier in a region where failed prohibition policies had been the norm. Marijuana legalization advocates from around the world eagerly waited to see how the case study would play out.


Video: Wide World of Cannabis: Uruguay Pt. I

Welcome to the Wide World of Cannabis, a MERRY JANE original series profiling far flung parts of the world and how they have cultivated their own unique relationship with marijuana.

In this episode we travel to the South American country of Uruguay.

In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to completely legalize marijuana in a move that has since been dubbed the "great experiment." While the legal cannabis is only provided to citizens, it's still a great place to have a relaxed and cheap vacation as a smoker.


What can Canada learn from U.S., Uruguay about selling marijuana?

As the federal Liberals map out their plan for legalizing marijuana, they can look at how — and how successfully — a handful of other jurisdictions have overturned the prohibition of pot.

In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states to legalize marijuana. Within two years, each state set up a framework governing how retailers could start selling. 

But although the two states have much in common, they have different takes on key questions that Canada will have to consider, like whether residents will be able to grow their own plants as they can in Colorado, or whether laws should put limits on non-residents who buy marijuana here, like in Colorado — or leave the market open as Washington does.


Medical Marijuana can create a 'small development center' in Uruguay

The authorities have insisted they do not want to attract marijuana tourists, a subject for which the country has gained international fame in recent years.

The growing interest of international companies to settle in Uruguay to produce and export marijuana for medical use could lead to create a "small development center," said an official.

"Several international companies have shown interest in settling in Uruguay to produce and export medical marijuana," the secretary general of the National Drug Board, Milton Romani said in an interview with AFP.

"This is not what he had intended and can mean a small center of development for the country," he added.


The top pot-loving countries

Marijuana legalization has been a political issue in the United States for some time, and while it remains illegal in most states, others have softened their stance in recent years. Colorado and Washington both passed initiatives by popular vote to decriminalize and legalize cannabis in 2012. In 2014, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., followed suit. Many states including Massachusetts, California, Missouri, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and Ohio have flirted with legalization for a few election cycles, with buzz growing.

The United States isn't the only country where people use marijuana legally or illicitly. In fact, it isn’t even the country with the highest reported marijuana use.


Uruguay Legalization Update

In 2013, the small South American country became the first nation in the world to legalize marijuana.

By Amanda Reiman

In early November, I attended the Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas. The event provided great insight into where the cannabis industry is going in the U.S., and gave more attention to advocacy than most business conferences. Spoiler alert: Cannabusiness is moving further away from the consumer and closer to the CEO. I found myself constantly wanting to ask the nicely dressed business-people with their gigantic, expensive displays, “Do you even use cannabis?”


Noted Danish entrepreneur’s high hopes over medical cannabis investment

Klaus Riskær Pedersen eyes potential in Uruguay to produce the plant for the pharmaceutical industry

Danish businessman and entrepreneur Klaus Riskær Pedersen is involved in a new business venture in Uruguay in the area of medical cannabis.

Pedersen, along with six partners, has invested in Nube Serena, a company that cultivates the plants for medical purposes.

“Medical cannabis in 2016 is like 1995 and the internet,” Pedersen told DR Nyheder. “This is a breakthrough year.”

New laws opening doors 
Pedersen said the relaxation of laws around the world to make medical cannabis legal is opening the door for his latest enterprise.


Marijuana growing starts at authorized facilities in Uruguay

The two companies authorized to grow marijuana in Uruguay have started production of the crop, the Ecos.la Web site reported.

ICCorp and Simbiosys "are already working in the fields of the Cannabis Regulation and Control Institute, or IRCCA, to produce and distribute marijuana," Ecos.la said.

Technicians and experts spent a week preparing the fields, which are in the southwestern province of San Jose, to grow cannabis, the Web site said.

The sale and purchase of marijuana was legalized in 2013 by the administration of former President Jose Mujica, who was in office from 2010 to 2015.

The government expects that regulated marijuana produced in Uruguay will be available for sale at pharmacies by mid-2016.


What Happened with Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay?

I will never forget the watershed moment when, in December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to completely legalize marijuana on a nation-wide level.

I was away from my home country, so I couldn’t take part in the celebrations. Due to the fact that I missed the moment perhaps, I kept some healthy dose of skepticism while still being happy that something new was about to be implemented. Uruguay was finally going to embark on a revolutionary alternative to the world-wide and decades-long failed war on drugs.


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