Uruguay Pot Smokers a Little Paranoid over State Registration

EspañolFour out of 10 Uruguayans using marijuana at least once a week said they don’t plan to sign up to the state register to allow them to access legal marijuana, according to a Catholic University (UCU) study presented on Wednesday, March 25.

The report, entitled Regulation of the Marijuana Market: Evidence from Uruguay for the Americas, analyzed consumption patterns of cannabis users and the views of the Uruguayan society on marijuana legalization.

El informe presentado ayer por la Universidad Católica de Uruguay destaca un alto nivel de rechazo al registro estatal para acceder legalmente a marihuana
The UCU report highlighted high levels of disinterest and distrust in formally registering as a legal marijuana smoker. (Torben Hansen)

According to the study, 58 percent of those polled said they will “surely” or “probably” join the official list to allow them to buy and cultivate marijuana legally, while 39 percent said they weren’t sure about doing so.

Among those who said they won’t provide their personal information to the government, almost one-third of them considered that joining the registry does not offer any benefit, 21 percent claimed not to trust the relevant authorities, while a 19 percent said marijuana should be treated as alcohol or tobacco, requiring no registration.

In December 2013, Uruguay’s Congress passed a law legalizing the sale and consumption of marijuana in the country under certain conditions.

The bill means residents can access marijuana in three ways: pharmacies, licensed clubs, and growing their own at home. However, to use any of these means, the government requires users to join a register held by the national Cannabis Regulation and Control Institute (IRCCA), the country’s marijuana regulation authority.

Among those of who have joined the register or are thinking of doing so, a majority (55 percent) said they would purchase marijuana in pharmacies, although the government is yet to determine which chains will be legalized to cultivate and sell the psychoactive. Thirty percent meanwhile indicated they would grow their own supply at home, with almost 13 percent saying they would join the new “cannabis clubs.”

The initiative attempts to outline cannabis consumption in an objective way in order to “indicate results before the law is effective,” said Rosario Queirolo, professor and researcher at UCU and coauthor of the study. “It’s a baseline, we should consider it as a starting point.”

The research paper, based on the polling of 294 regular marijuana users in Uruguay, was a joint collaboration between the UCU and the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida’s International University, and was funded by the Open Society Foundations.

Source: El Observador.

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