Outside the United States, Uruguay was the first country in the world to fully legalize the use of marijuana. After Uruguay legalized it in 2013, Canada followed by legalizing marijuana in 2018. Yet despite the legalization, acquiring CBD in Uruguay remains difficult.
The law has enabled the state to regulate the supply of cannabis, from cultivation to trade. Indeed, Uruguay has founded a true benchmark in the industry of CBD for being the first country to legalize the use of medical and recreational cannabis.
Marijuana Legalization in Other Countries
Other countries have not yet legalized the use of marijuana however they have maintained a relaxed approach when it comes to the sale and use of marijuana. In the Netherlands, citizens are allowed to keep and cultivate marijuana and law enforcement officers allow coffee shops to sell the product for as long as they don’t sell them to minors.
Spain has also allowed the use of marijuana in various clubs, although selling it is prohibited. According to some reports by people who have been to North Korea, the country has no laws restricting marijuana use.
A Matter of Public Security
Unlike Canada, which legalized the use of medical cannabis in 2001 with a focus on public health strategy, Uruguay’s plan to legalize is mainly due to the issue of public security. The law foresees a regulation strategy promoting public health, public security, as well as individual rights. However, due to a greater concern on security, recreational cannabis users have consequently been the priority in the past five years. As such, Uruguayans may have to wait for more to get access to medical cannabis.
Nowadays, Uruguay offers three ways to legally access recreational marijuana – buying 40 grams from the four different weed varieties either with low or high THC, purchase from 17 authorized pharmacies, grow up to 6 different cannabis plants at home, or be a member of different cannabis clubs. Patients suffering from epilepsy, for instance, can obtain one legal CBD product at some of the local pharmacies.
Cannabis and Hemp in Uruguay
2019 promises to be better for the CBD industry in Uruguay, which is good news to medical cannabis users. In November 2018, licensed cannabis company Aurora inaugurated the first production center in the country. The company is based in Canada and their products are going to be launched very soon. Furthermore, around 32 groups have already acquired authorization from the IRCCA to research and produce cannabis products for medical use.
Inspired by the laws of the Czech Republic and Colombia, Uruguay’s lawmakers are working on a bill that aims to facilitate access to medical cannabis products by allowing small cannabis producers to become regular sellers. So far, a number of International companies have been able to meet the rigorous requirements set by the country when it comes to producing medical cannabis, which could mean that the bill will be able to come up with a democratic official CBD market in Uruguay.