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Uruguay: Pioneering Recreational Cannabis Legalisation

Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalise cannabis and has a history of progressive drug policies, with personal possession of drugs being decriminalised as early as 1974. In December 2013, President José Mujica signed legislation that legalised the recreational use of cannabis, marking a historic milestone in global drug policy.

Response to Legalisation

Legislation was gradually introduced over years, offering consumers three methods of accessing cannabis: home grown, forming cannabis clubs, and buying from pharmacies.

Cannabis Use Trends After Legalisation

After legalisation, the use of cannabis in Uruguay did not show a significant increase. A study published in the magazine "Addiction" concluded that the legalisation of recreational cannabis in Uruguay was not associated with increases in cannabis use or changes in frequent cannabis use among youth. Another report in 2020 found that legalisation had not led to a spike in cannabis consumption among teenagers in Uruguay.

Impact on Crime Rates

Reports suggest that drug-related crime has dropped by 20% in the country since cannabis became legal in 2017. However, another study found no effect on the crime rate.

Driving Requirements in Uruguay

In Uruguay drivers are not prosecuted for the presence of cannabis. In Uruguay people are given directions by their doctor not to drive their vehicle if their reactions are impaired.


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