An Essential Guide To Uruguay’s Marijuana Laws

Before booking your trip to South America, you may want to read this.

Uruguay's Marijuana Laws
Photo by Ari Crespo via Unsplash

Later this month, Uruguayans will be able to walk into a pharmacy and legally buy a gram of cannabis for about $1.3o — about half the current price of black market marijuana in the small South American nation. But before you book a trip to Montevideo or one of the charming beach towns, there are a few things you should know about Uruguay’s marijuana laws.

What You Should Know:

  • No cannabis for tourists: If you are not a resident of Uruguay, you will not be able to legally purchase marijuana. The program was designed for locals only in order to prevent an “Amsterdam-style” tourism industry. Uruguayan citizens and registered residents living in the country for two years will be able to buy up to 40g of marijuana per month from the pharmacy.
  • Don’t worry about being arrested for possession: Even though non-residents can’t buy it legally, don’t be afraid of getting busted if you are caught in possession. Since 1974,  personal use of cannabis has been decriminalised in Uruguay.
  • It’s already legal, but now you can buy it: In 2013, Uruguay legalized cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana. But pharmacies will now be authorized to sell it legally.
  • Where can I smoke it? If you are of legal age (18 or older), you can consume cannabis anywhere EXCEPT a public building or enclosed place of work.
  • Residents can grow their own: Citizens must register with the government in order to grow cannabis at home. One household is legally allowed to grow six plants.
  • What about international treaties? Yes, the nation with a population of 3.4 million is violating international law. Canada, too, will be defying international treaties when it begins legal national sales next year. The U.S. claims it is in accordance with the treaties because, even though the federal government still technically prohibits cannabis, although state laws disagree.
  • What about edibles? Nope. Infusing foods or beverages with cannabis will not be allowed.
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