Uruguay made global headlines earlier this year when recreational cannabis became available in licensed pharmacies all over the country. Although only 26,000 Uruguayan nationals have registered to consume recreational cannabis so far, the country’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) estimated that a potential 147,000 users might eventually sign up. The pharmaceutical retail of recreational cannabis came three years after the country became the first in the world to legalize the production, distribution and sale of the drug.
Uruguay’s then-President José Mujica explained his decision in terms of a rejection of the principles of the U.S.-led War on Drugs. In the past two decades, many places the world over started loosening the laws pertaining to the regulation of recreational cannabis. And in the last few decades, public opinion surrounding the recreational use of cannabis has undergone a massive shift in many Western countries: a 2017 Gallup poll showed that 64 percent of Americans were in favour of legalising it, from only 12 percent in 1969.
WikiTribune journalist George Engels will be in Uruguay in January to write about the country’s ongoing effort to roll out its cannabis-related policies. He would like to receive your questions, concerns, and story ideas on the subject.