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Green Rush is in the Golden State in Uruguay

By Savita Dhawan 10th May 2018

Uruguay can sell marijuana directly to consumers, being the first country in the world to legalize the entire process of marijuana production for recreational use, including its cultivation and sale. This new law has made possible for the country to sell the drug anywhere over the counter. Also, in Uruguay, it is permissible to use marijuana in public. The country of 3.5 million allows cannabis to be sold at select pharmacies without a prescription as the country does not offer a separate system for medical marijuana users. Citizens of Uruguay (not tourists) can purchase up to 40 grams per month at the pharmacies.

According to a report released by ArcView Market Research in partnership with BDS Analytics, legal marijuana sales in “key South American market” are expected to surge from just $125 million in 2018 to $776 million by 2027, thus becoming the clear leader in the early liberalization of its marijuana regulations.

Crime Rate Drop       

As per the new legislation, Uruguayans or those with permanent residency over the age of 18 are permitted to smoke marijuana in public and purchase it either from their local pharmacy or harvest a crop of up to six plants. Thus, plummeting the crime rates.

Since marijuana legalization, there has been a sudden plunge in the crime rates. Drug-related crime has dropped 20 percent in the country since July 2017.

The law intends to reduce the profit that drug trafficking creates for organized crime, as well as reducing the drug-related violence and the social problems associated with it.  

Entrepreneurial Opportunity

Uruguay’s advancements towards regulation of recreational and medical marijuana have created lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurs, as they can cultivate more revenue from existing and new cannabis businesses. Also, investors are keen to invest realizing the huge potential of marijuana business in the market.

Medical, Personal and Social Club Cultivation

Besides regulating the retail market, Uruguay’s new law includes provisions for other forms of legal cannabis supply. There will be a system to provide medical users with access to the drug, as well as the option for an adult user to either cultivate cannabis in their own home or join a club that will cultivate it on their behalf. Licensed home-growers can cultivate up to six cannabis plants per household, with the cannabis clubs – which must have between 15 and 45 members – restricted to 99 plants.

Initially, it all started with the 2011 arrest of Alicia Castilla, a 66-year-old author and intellectual who was growing cannabis in her home. Her arrest triggered huge protests and eventually led to laws that allowed some cultivation of cannabis at home. That, in turn, created the way for the nationwide legalization that happened in 2017. However, Uruguay is still far ahead of the rest of the world on marijuana legalization.


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