Crime rate lowers after cannabis is legalized in Uruguay

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Uruguay’s drug-related crime rates have dropped by 20 percent since the Cannabis plant was legalized for distribution and sale in July 2017, based on a recent report by Telesur.

The sovereign state made history as the first place on the map to legalize cannabis distribution. This change in cannabis laws has led to a major reduction in the war on drugs that continues to plague much of South America. A safer environment is the outcome of making cannabis legally available to purchase in Uruguay since consumers no longer need to turn to the Black Market to procure their pot.

Cases of illegal drug trafficking are becoming less common, proving how cannabis legalization in Uruguay is contributing to the dismantling of the unlawful drug market. More lenient laws mean that former drug dealers can become pharmacists and avoid involvement with drug cartels in countries like Mexico and Colombia. All cannabis sold in the 10th-largest South American country must meet state regulations to ensure plant matter is of the highest quality.

“South America’s war on drugs has been absurd, with catastrophic results no matter what indicators you consider, including consumption,” Director of Montevideo’s Cannabis Museum, Eduardo Blasina, said in a statement.

The drop in Uruguay’s drug-related crime rates is similar to the reduction in violent crime in the United States. A study conducted by The Economic Journal exposed a 12.5 percent drop in crime amidst states located on the Mexican border since cannabis was legalized for medical use.

Furthermore, crime rates were often lower in areas where there was a higher saturation of medical cannabis dispensaries.

An overview of cannabis legalization in Uruguay

So, what exactly do Uruguay’s cannabis laws entail?

The laws allow adults aged 18 and over to acquire cannabis from a licensed local dispensary. Public consumption is accepted.

In addition to this, residents can grow a maximum of six cannabis plants, so long as those plants are cultivated for personal use and not for distribution, sale or profit.

These reformed rules and regulations demonstrate a radical change in Uruguay’s cannabis laws, what with the consumption and cultivation of cannabis being illegal up until 2013.

Uruguay has made history on more than one occasion in regards to the green herb. The tropical South American country is acknowledged as the first country in the world to put an end to cannabis prohibition.

How to buy legal cannabis in Uruguay

In order to legally obtain cannabis from a dispensary in Uruguay, consumers are required to register for a national registry.

Up to three unique cannabis strains may be chosen from, all of which will contain different levels of the main cannabinoids – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Cannabis clubs in Uruguay are also open to registered members.