Uruguay might have legalized weed, but turns out the process isn’t as simple as one would originally assume. And the more we look into it, the more the country’s legalization of weed appears to be a Catch-22 kind of situation. But for those of you interested in a Bob-Marley themed Weekend trip to Uruguay, we’ve fashioned a few key points for you to consider beforehand.
WHO CAN BUY IT?
Hopefully you haven’t booked any tickets yet. Foreigners, along with those under 18 years of age, are the exception from Uruguay’s Legal Weed Policy. Only the country’s legal citizens, or expats with a permanent residence, can enlist in the consumer’s registry. And to buy Uruguayan Marihuana, you need to be registered. Maybe try your luck in California instead?
HOW CAN I REGISTER FOR THE CONSUMER’S REGISTRY?
OK, so let’s say that by some magic twist of fate, you have a Uruguayan citizenship or you’re a legal, permanent resident there. To enroll for the Consumer’s Registry, citizens or legal residents must visit any post office (Correo) venues carrying a national identity card, proof of legal citizenship, or documents verifying you are a permanent resident. Apart from any of those three credentials, you must also provide a document stating your legal address or a utilities bill with your name on it. This way, even if you did decide to commit the crime of presenting a fake ID, you’d also have to buy a house to go along with it.
CAN A FRIEND BUY IT FOR ME THEN?
No. Nice try, but that would fall under the category of drug importation. So you know. No.
WHEN AND WHERE CAN I BUY IT?
Last May, Uruguayan citizens began signing up for the consumers’ registry. And this week, the wait is over for the citizens of Uruguay as shops are now authorized to begin selling. Currently, there are only sixteen pharmacies registered under the Instituto de Regulación y Control de Cannabis (IRCCA or Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis). However, approximately a total of 30 venues are expected to be added to the list soon.
WHERE CAN I SMOKE IT
Once in Uruguay, you will be able to roll a joint, light it up, and smoke it in any outdoors public place, with the exceptions of open-air health institutions and sports facilities. Whatever you do, refrain from smoking marihuana at work or while riding public transportation. Speaking of driving, it is also illegal to drive under the influence of marihuana.
HOW MUCH IS IT GOING TO COST ME?
The IRCCA has explained that pharmacies are selling “cannabis flowers, sealed in their natural state, dried up, and not grinded”. Each sack carries 5 grams of Marihuana and is selling at USD $6,5, a price fixed by the government.
WHAT AM I BUYING?
For the time being, only two types of weed are for sale. They are labeled Alfa 1 and Beta 1 and are, respectively, predominant Indica and Sativa hybrids.
CAN I TAKE HOME THE PHARMACY’S ENTIRE WEED SUPPLY?
As much as we appreciate guiltless individuals, this one is a solid no. Each consumer can only buy up to 10 grams of Marihuana per week, and 40 grams a month. On average, 40 grams would make for 40 joints —or porros.
WHO’S PRODUCING IT?
The Marihuana being sold in the pharmacies is cultivated, sealed and distributed by only two companies in the country: Symbiosis and International Cannabis Corp. Both companies carry official authorizations to take part in the business and, as any other entity recognized by the government must do, they must pay their taxes.
Despite all these regulations, all four pharmacies ran out of 400 kilograms worth of stock in merely a few hours. Even so, Marihuana may be legal in Uruguay, but it doesn’t do much for those on this side of the river.