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Punta del Este: Argentines are Trying to Get Their Hands on Uruguayan Weed

By | [email protected] | January 8, 2018 12:48pm


Ever since the Uruguayan government legalized marijuana and proceeded to start selling it, Argentines with a taste for the substance have been making their way to the neighboring country to try to buy and consume it without having to look over their shoulders, dismissing the fact that Uruguayan law makes it clear that foreigners are not allowed to purchase the drug. Now that the summer season has started, the number of people fitting this description has grown exponentially.

Not all cases are the same: While some tourists may have chosen Uruguay as their destination entirely for this reason, there’s also others who were surely going there anyway, and only later decided to take their chances to spice things up a bit. There is, however, something all of them share: being rejected when trying to get weed.

There are three ways to legally get marijuana in Uruguay: in authorized pharmacies, in non-profit organizations dedicated to the practice, or to personally grow some for self-consumption. Since Argentines won’t spend months in Uruguay watching plants grow, they naturally gravitate to the first two options. These efforts, however, have proven unfruitful: Pharmacies kick them out, and non-profit representatives explain to them that in accordance to the Uruguayan law, each organization gets a determinate amount of marijuana to distribute among their members, and  giving some of it to any Argentine would therefore deprive an Uruguayan member from the weed they are legally entitled to have.

However, not everyone has this mindset: there are others who have spotted a gray area that opens a window for foreigners to consume the marijuana restricted to Uruguayans. As per the law, consumers are allowed to share the portion they have been allocated, and some haven’t hesitated to turn that little loophole into a business opportunity.

Clarín mentions the example of a hostel named THC – the acronym for Tetrahydrocannabinol, the component of marijuana that gets you high – whose owners are more than prone to distributing their weed among their guests.

What’s the deal with weed in Argentina?

The Supreme Court established a precedent regarding this subject when it ruled in favor of decriminalizing possession for personal consumption in the 2009 Arriola Case. According to that groundbreaking sentence, it’s unconstitutional to punish an adult for possessing and consuming marijuana in private as long as he or she is discrete about it, doesn’t jeopardize a third party and doesn’t intend to sell it.

That ruling was never turned into law, and that led to a legal loophole in which the police can still arrest consumers, but will see how the judges release them when the case reaches them. According to a series of reports issued by Federal Prosecutor Federico Delgado, ‘100 percent’ of the cases involving marijuana for personal consumption are dismissed.

Will this be turning into a law anytime soon, then? According to an interview with BuzzFeed from 2016, Macri said the issue was not a priority for the government, so moving towards a general decriminalization doesn’t seem to be in the cards in the near future as far as Cambiemos is concerned.

Oh well, you can always get an Uruguayan friend/ girlfriend/ boyfriend to help you out.