behind the headlines

Behind the scenes of Uruguay's 2013 Cannabis Law

Monday, April 28, 2014 · Category Politics · comments 2


In december 2013 the Uruguayan Government shook the world when parliament decided to legalise the production, sales and consumption of Cannabis. Although cannabis smoking has be legalised in 1974, sales, cultivation and purchase of Cannabis was illegal, much like the situation in the Netherlands. Due to it's status Uruguay became a center of export of Cannabis to Europe.

The Uruguayan Cannabis law

1/ You have to register as a consumer and grower
2/ If you are over 18 you can grow the plant yourself with a maximum of 6 plants
3/ You can buy it in a farmacy with a maximum of 40 grams a month at a fixed price of US $ 1,00 per gram.
4/ Together with friends you can start a Cannabis club where you can grow up to 99 plants together.
5/ The law only applies to Uruguayan residents. For foreigners it will remain illegal.
6/ Medical research will be spearheaded by the government.

Questions concerning the implementation of the law

The most important questions regarding the new law are centered around: "Who will grow all the weed to be sold by the farmacies?" and "How will the black market be 'weeded' out.

Uruguay's president, José Mujica

In the center of the liberal choices is Uruguay's president, José Mujica. He has been described as 'the poorest president' due to his austere lifestyle, his donation of around 90% of his $12,000 (£7,500) monthly salary to charities that benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs.

José Mujica, background

He was a guerrila leader joining the 1960's Tupamaros movement. Captured and shot 6 times by police he served 14 years in jail until released in 1985 when constitutional democracy was restored in Uruguay. After being elected in the 1994 general elections as a deputy he became a senator in 1999. In the 2009 general election he became the president of Uruguay for a 6 year term until 2015. The president's goals can be summarized as 'a chicken in every pot', 'a car in every garage', and 'six cannabis plants per household'.

The idea behind the cannabis law

Worse than using Cannabis, is the illegal drug trafficking. I tend to agree with this opinion. By organising and regulating the market (more then the widely spread use of 'legalisation') you can take away part of the production and sales from illegal drug traffickers.

Why did Uruguay choose this way? One of the main reasons is the fight against illegal drug trafficking that has been going on for more then a 100 years and the only thing this 'war on drugs' has brought us is a disrupted economy, misplaced government funds going towards the 'war effort', killings and a growing and continueing illegal drug trafficking.

Disrupting the illegal drug trafficking market

Illegal drug trafficking is not going to disappear, but you can try to disrupt the economical root of the problem. Because illegal drug trafficking is a business and mostly a monopolotised business for those you practise it. So as the government, we can oppose the current monopolist by creating a big competitor, which is the government.

This is a new expirement. Uruguay will be like a social experiment under huge international spotlights. But as the president states, "we believe we can offer an alternative to the world to create better politics". "We have to take it step by step, because this is new for all of us and we have no experience with what is coming to us".

Documentary on Uruguay and it's Cannabis law


1. by Educated Pothead about 6 years

Legalize it!

2. by Noel about 6 years

Great article. It is quite unonrtufate that over the last years, the travel industry has already been able to to tackle terrorism, SARS, tsunamis, bird flu, swine flu, along with the first ever entire global downturn. Through it the industry has really proven to be robust, resilient plus dynamic, discovering new tips on how to deal with difficulty. There are generally fresh challenges and opportunity to which the marketplace must all over again adapt and act in response.


Write code