Uruguay legalizes pot, projects 18,284% increase in tourism


The streets of Amsterdam are about to get awfully quiet. Showing infinitely more sense than most “First World” nations’ doomed approach, Uruguay has legalized marijuana in an effort to combat drug trafficking. Also relevant, as anyone who’s ever read a legitimate medical study on cannabis knows, compared to perfectly legal vices like alcohol, cigarettes, junk food and laziness, it’s pretty harmless.

Alas, for the moment this free-for-all only applies to Uruguay citizens, but it’s probably safe to say that ease of access will be darn near ridiculous to anyone with five spare minutes and a hankering.

The law, due to be implemented in mid-April, states that Uruguayans over the age of 18 can buy up to 40 grams of cannabis per month from licensed pharmacies. Purchases will be monitored by a government database, ostensibly to prevent people from doing what I suggested above.

Do-it-yourself Uruguayans will be able to grow six marijuana plants in their homes each year (up to 480 grams) and so-called “smoking clubs” (limited to 15 to 45 members for some reason) will be able grow up to 99 plants per year.

With this newly relaxed outlook, and what I expect will be bargain prices, Uruguay tourism will likely see both an increase in visitors and their length of stays. When this economic reality becomes apparent, can complete legalization be on the horizon?


[Photo Torben Hansen]