Uruguay legalized cannabis in December 2013. Uruguay’s President and cannabis supporters worldwide were hoping to see legal cannabis sales start this year. However, it appears that legal cannabis sales in Uruguay will have to wait until 2015. According to comments made by Uruguay President Jose Mujica, there have been complications implementing the new law.
The small South American nation has become the face of progressive views on the consumption of marijuana. Despite moves to legalize the country’s cannabis market – a move which was approved in December – Mujica told AFP that sales to consumers would “go to next year” due to “practical difficulties.”
When Uruguay eventually rolls out cannabis sales, it will only be to Uruguay residents who are at least 18 years old. Uruguay’s legal cannabis will be capped at 15 percent THC, and the Uruguay government will be in charge of the entire supply chain. There will be three ways to obtain legal cannabis in Uruguay. The first is to purchase it from a licensed retailer. The second is to cultivate cannabis on your own. There is a limit of 6 plants per house hold.The third option is joining a cannabis club, which can have up to 45 members and have a plant limit of 99 for the club. All three avenues have their benefits, depending on the situation.
While I wish cannabis sales started in Uruguay sooner, I understand delaying the roll-out to ensure that issues are minimized. Depending on how legalization implementation goes in Uruguay, supporters will either be able to offer Uruguay up as an example of legalization success, or opponents will be able to point to it as a failed experiment that should be avoided by other nations. I want Uruguay to implement legalization, but I want them to do it right. Starting a regulated cannabis framework from scratch is a lot of work. It is one of the reasons why the rollout in Washington State has taken so long and why the New Approach Oregon measure provides the state a full year to implement the necessary rules and regulations regarding cannabis commerce. The wait will be worth it.