Lawmakers in Uruguay voted to legalize and regulate marijuana this week, making it the most progressive country in the world when it comes to cannabis regulation. It is now the only country in the world to legalize the whole chain of marijuana production and sale, from growing the plant to buying and selling its flowers.
The move helps bolster efforts in the United States and other countries to legalize cannabis, and it’s another indication of how the business is starting to go global. Several countries, including Morocco, are weighing the possibility of legalizing marijuana for medical or general use. Others have already loosened their laws on marijuana.
In Uruguay, the measure passed by a margin of 16-13 in the Senate. The country’s government now has 120 days to launch the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis, which will manage the new industry.
Uruguay has taken measures to keep cannabis from becoming the proverbial Amsterdam of South America. Only Uruguayan nationals can purchase and grow marijuana. And tourists are not allowed, unlike in Colorado and Washington.
Under the new law, consumers over the age of 18 can buy a maximum of 40 grams or 1.4 ounces each month from government-regulated retail shops. The patrons must register in a government database that monitors their usage.
Marijuana cultivators can grow up to six plans in their homes each year but cannot exceed 480 grams of marijuana harvested. Locals can also establish clubs of between 15 and 45 members who can produce up to 99 plants a year.