Uruguay is the first country to legalize marijuana on a national level. Other countries have decriminalized marijuana. However, Uruguay is the first to try to launch a national industry by having legal marijuana sales. Other countries have started to explore what it would take to follow Uruguay's lead. A lot of things will depend on how Uruguay implements its plan.
Last month Uruguay released details of what marijuana legalization will look like. The world had been waiting since Uruguay signed its law into effect in December to see what the details would be. Uruguay will allow marijuana sales to Uruguay residents over the age of 18. Residents will have to choose to either 1) cultivate up to 6 plants, 2) join a club of up to 45 members, grow 99 plants collectively, and share the harvest, or 3) purchase up to 10 grams per week from a pharmacy. Regardless of which option is chosen, Uruguay residents can only possess 480 grams per year.
Per the Huffington Post:
"The Uruguayan model places high emphasis on regulation, control and restrictions aimed at curbing potential negative effects of legalization. All forms of advertising and promotion of use are prohibited, as is smoking in closed, public spaces, in the workplace, and at health establishments, schools and sports institutions. Driving under the influence of marijuana is not allowed, and the newly created Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA), tasked with regulating and controlling the whole system, will set the THC limits and types of test performed for DUI.
The regulations also include strong education and health components. While educational centers may ban people who are impaired from marijuana consumption from entering the premises, they are then obliged to offer support and information on marijuana use. Membership clubs also must educate and inform their members about responsible marijuana consumption and the IRCCA must promote harm and risk reduction strategies related to problematic use of marijuana."
It would be nice to see Uruguay allow non-residents to be able to purchase marijuana legally. It would be a huge boost to tourism. Uruguay is a beautiful country, and adding marijuana consumption to the experience would be fantastic. The Uruguay system is not perfect, but it's light years beyond any other country right now.