World pioneer in full cannabis legalization

Uruguay marked a historic milestone by becoming in December 2013 the first country in the world to fully legalize the production and consumption of cannabis for adult, medicinal and industrial use. Law 19,172 established specific regulations for recreational cannabis and more general regulations for medicinal and industrial use, and gave rise to the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA).

Since legalization, the development of the sector has been remarkable; with more than 100 companies participating in different stages of the value chain, from research to industrialization for medicinal, industrial, or food purposes, the regulatory progress has generated different commercial opportunities.

As a strength, Uruguay has a solid track record in related industries, thanks to its history as an exporter of agricultural and pharmaceutical products. Sustainability also stands out as a distinctive value, as the country, with 98% of its energy coming from renewable sources, approaches cannabis production in a sustainable manner, minimizing its environmental impact.

Uruguay's strong institutional framework derived from being a pioneer in comprehensive legalization. It created a public-private ecosystem that facilitates the development of the sector. The closeness between the authorities and the private sector promotes problem-solving and the identification of areas for improvement.

Uruguay stands out as a regional leader in cannabis exports with increasingly diversified exports both in terms of markets and its exportable supply. As of 2018, the country exports a variety of products including seeds, biomass, and hemp flowers for non-medical use, as well as flowers with high THC content for medical use and medicines and finished products. 

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