People who use recreational cannabis in Uruguay are registering at Post Offices so that they can buy legal marijuana from pharmacies as from July this year.
This is a world first. The government will oversee the growing, production, quality and sales of recreational cannabis. This is nothing like legal weed smoking in Amsterdam’s cafes. The Telegraph shared the news with the world.
No cannabis tourism
Bad news for those who hoped to have a legal cannabis holiday in Uruguay: legal users must be citizens of Uruguay, or foreigners with permanent residence. Citizens must register to buy their weed from a chemist. Frente Amplio, the governing party, insists it won’t stand for cannabis tourism.
Registered buyers submit their fingerprints. Regulators will make sure that they don’t buy more than the maximum monthly quota of 40 grams or 1.4 ounces. The cannabis that will be on sale at pharmacies will be grown by private companies at undisclosed plantations near the capital and be regulated by the government.
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Much cheaper than on the street
Diego Olivera, secretary general of the National Drugs Council said a gram would be sold at a fixed price of $1.30. This price is less than half of what a gram costs on the black market, said Yamila, 26.
She says young people will go anywhere to buy cannabis from black marketeers. It is not safe and it is very expensive. The quality is variable. You never know what you will get. Soon, she can go to the pharmacy by herself and buy a product that’s safe and quality controlled.
Marijuana became legal under former president Jose Mujica, and some lawmakers still oppose legalization. A poll at the time showed that two thirds of the people of the country opposed it. Current president, Tabare Vazquez, a cancer doctor, inherited the awkward situation. One of the first things Vasquez did in his first term, 2005 – 2010, was to pass very strict anti-smoking laws.
Health warnings and helplines
The launch of the registration program and the implementation of the legalized system comes with warnings about the health risks associated with smoking. But supporters hope that legalization will minimize violence and crime associated with the drug trade. Those who signed up received a slip with helpline numbers that they can use to get help with drug problems.
What people are saying about recreational cannabis in Uruguay
Ferreira, 41 signed up. He says that Uruguay has taken a great step forward. He works in tourism, and says he believes that government should allow tourists to get cannabis. Cannabis tourism could bring his country a lot of foreign currency.
Manuel Martin also registered. He holds Spanish and Uruguayan citizenship and says he left Spain and moved to Uruguay because of the marijuana laws. Martin sees it as a turning point and says that its a “blessing from God” that he can be there to register. He thinks it is wonderful that people can buy marijuana from pharmacies, knowing they will get quality that is guaranteed. Now people don’t have to buy any rubbish on the streets.
Legal cannabis for ordinary people
Although many people still worry about cannabis legalization, the experience of US states that have taken the step is encouraging. Apart from reducing pressure on the criminal justice system, very little has changed.
Most recreational cannabis users are just ordinary, peace-loving people. Legalization allows them to get on with their lives without fear of arrest and prosecution. Recreational cannabis in Uruguay follows a new model for cannabis legalization that will be of great interest to legislators around the world.