Uruguay is one of the more liberal countries in the world when it comes to cannabis. They legalized recreational use in 2013, and in 2017 passed legislation permitting commercial use.
Unlike most of the world, this South American country escaped prohibition and never actually criminalized marijuana use.
In 1974 they cleared up any confusion by passing Decree-Law 14.294, which decriminalized cannabis for personal use. Unfortunately, it remained punishable to grow and sell weed, so the law didn’t make much sense. In 1998, the law was updated, reducing the legal ramifications for selling and growing.
So, when cannabis was legalized in the country in 2013, the idea was to create a federally regulated market—one that would have a monopoly on the drug trade. Instead of funneling money to illegal drug traffickers, it would curb criminal trade and financially benefit the government instead. It took another three and a half years to implement the plan, but on July 19, 2017, the legal sale of cannabis got underway.
Although it’s legal, there are lots of rules and regulations surrounding the law. For example, the only place you can legally purchase cannabis is at a government-approved pharmacy, and there are only 17 of those in a country of 3.5 million people. And because the country is affected by strict US banking laws, sales are cash only.
You must be 18 years of age and a citizen or permanent resident of Uruguay to purchase cannabis, and you need to register with the government to do so. Each citizen is allowed to grow six plants and can buy no more than 0.35 ounces per week.
Advertising and promotion are not permitted, and tourists are not allowed to purchase cannabis.
What About CBD in Uruguay?
Despite the reasonably liberal cannabis laws in the country, it can be surprisingly tricky to obtain CBD. There is only one legal CBD oil available—Epifractan. While it is available in the approved pharmacies, the high price tag (around $200 a bottle) makes it out of reach for many people.
In many parts of the world, ordering CBD oil online is the norm. In Uruguay, prescriptions and government authorizations are required to import the compound, and these bureaucratic obstacles make it a tedious and expensive process.
These factors have led to many Uruguayans making CBD oil themselves with their own home-grown cannabis. Although it is illegal to sell, they use it for themselves and their families, and gift it to friends.