Marijuana Takes Time To Go On Sale In Uruguay

Three years after the approval of the law, the legalization of marijuana has not yet been implemented in Uruguay. Authorized is already domestic cultivation. DW spoke with Dr. Julia Galzerano, an expert on the subject.

What benefits for society do the authorities of Uruguay expect from the liberalization of marijuana production and trade?

Dr. Galzerano: The liberalization of marijuana production and trade would reduce the gondola effect (that is, when a user of marijuana goes in search of the drug and, not finding it, they offer him base paste, No. of R.) through the separation of the cannabis market from that of other medications, such as PBC (untreated cocaine, extracted from coca leaves through a process of maceration and mixing with solvents such as paraffin, benzene, ether, sulfuric acid, etc., n. of R.) or cocaine. As the sale of cannabis allows obtaining new fiscal resources, with the collection of these taxes it can cover the costs generated by the assistance of addicted patients and expand the actions of prevention and treatment of illegal drug users.

What are the ways to obtain permission for the production and personal use of marijuana and domestic cultivation?

For domestic cultivation, up to six plants per house will be authorized; The product cannot exceed 480 grams per year. Cultivate may be over 18 years old, capable, natural or legal citizens or with permanent residence in the country. A person can only be a holder of a domestic crop. Growing clubs must be civil associations with legal status, with a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 45 members, the members must be capable people, of legal age, legal or natural citizens or with permanent residence in the country. They can plant up to 99 plants in total. The production and storage should not exceed 480 grams per person.

When does cannabis begin to be sold in pharmacies?

It is not yet known when the cannabis sale begins for recreational use in pharmacies. It was supposed to start last year. There is not, however, a specific date yet. Delayed is also the sale of cannabis for medicinal use. What is already working is domestic cultivation and cannabis clubs.

Will the liberalization of marijuana production, trade and consumption be accompanied by sanitary measures or campaigns about the risks generated by its use?

In the law, in its article 1, prevention is already mentioned. From the Medical Union of Uruguay (SMU) it is proposed to give more emphasis: prevention of the beginning of consumption, delay of the age of onset (primary prevention), promote and help the abandonment of consumption (secondary prevention) and treatment and rehabilitation of problematic consumers (tertiary prevention).

The Drab. Julia Galzerano is a doctor specializing in HIV and addictions. It is part of the Commission for the Study of Cannabis Regulation, created by the Medical Union of Uruguay (SMU) to analyze the scope and consequences of the law.