Uruguay Likely To Allow Legal Cannabis Sales To Tourists
Uruguay made history in 2013 when it became the first country on the planet to legalize cannabis for adult use. Various countries had enacted cannabis decriminalization measures prior to 2013, or cannabis was ‘tolerated’ in certain countries, or in the case of the U.S. cannabis was legal for adult-use in some jurisdictions as of 2012 (Washington State and Colorado).
However, the title of ‘first country to legalize cannabis for adult use at a national level’ will forever be bestowed upon Uruguay. Since Uruguay legalized in 2013 only one other country has passed somewhat similar legislation – Canada. However, whereas Canada legalized cannabis sales to all adults of legal age, Uruguay’s model still does not provide for legal sales to non-residents.
It’s an interesting difference that has played out for several years now, and it is likely that most countries that legalize in the future will adopt a model that is more in line with Canada’s model versus Uruguay. Even Uruguay appears to be moving closer to a Canadian model. To be fair, Uruguay was the first to ever enact such a historic cannabis policy, so it is understandable that they wouldn’t get that part right at first. Fortunately, it’s likely that tourists in Uruguay will get to make legal purchases in the near future. Per Hindustan Times:
The first country in the world to legalize most uses of marijuana is looking to capture business away from illicit sellers and bolster its cannabis industry by allowing foreign visitors to buy pot.
The administration of Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou could release its plan as soon as this year in a bid to build political consensus and support, said Daniel Radio, secretary general of the National Drugs Board. The aim isn’t to promote Uruguay as a destination for cannabis tourism, but rather to steer tourists away from the black market and into the regulated market, according to Deputy Tourism Minister Remo Monzeglio.
It is no secret that currently cannabis can still be easily obtained by tourists in Uruguay. It’s not as if since legal sales are not permitted that tourists aren’t purchasing cannabis in Uruguay. Many tourists purchase cannabis every day in Uruguay, it’s just that the sales are from unregulated sources.
Uruguay, like every other country on earth, should allow legal, regulated sales. Consumers benefit from being able to purchase lab tested products in well-lit areas without the fear of prosecution. Local regions benefit from the creation of good jobs, and all levels of government benefit from tax revenue and fee generation. Hopefully Uruguay makes the shift sooner rather than later.