WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

Uruguay’s Cannabis Law: Pioneering a New Paradigm

10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Thursday, 22 March 2018
Washington D.C.

This event has been postponed for March 22nd, 2018 from 10:00 – 11:30a.m. at the Washington Office on Latin America, 1666 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Suite 400, Washington, D.C.  20009. The event will also be livestreamed at www.wola.org.


WOLA and the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings 
are pleased to invite you to a discussion on

Uruguay’s Cannabis Law: Pioneering a New Paradigm


Alicia Chavert
Owner, Farmacia La Cabina

Guillermo Draper
National Politics Editor, Búsqueda
Co-author, “Marihuana oficial: Crónica de un experimento uruguayo”

Martín Rodríguez
Executive Director
Instituto de Regulación y Control del Cannabis (IRCCA)


John Walsh
Director for Drug Policy and the Andes
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Moderated by

John Hudak
Senior Fellow and Deputy Director
Center for Effective Public Management, The Brookings Institution

Thursday, March 22, 2018
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

The Washington Office on Latin America
1666 Connecticut Avenue N.W., Suite 400 
Washington, DC  20009

The event will be livestreamed at www.wola.org


Click Here to RSVP


As the first country to legalize and regulate non-medical cannabis, the case of Uruguay holds important lessons for other jurisdictions that may consider regulatory approaches to cannabis instead of persisting with prohibition. The stated goals of the December 2013 law regulating cannabis in Uruguay were to reduce violence stemming from drug trafficking, promote public health, and eliminate the contradictions in laws regarding cannabis access and use. Uruguay’s leaders, mindful of domestic and international concerns, have taken a deliberately strict approach to regulating cannabis. Consumers must choose only one of the three forms of legal access to cannabis—homegrowing, clubs, or commercial purchase—and must register with the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA). Only two companies are currently licensed to produce cannabis for sale, the price is fixed, there are weekly and monthly purchase limits, and sales to tourists are not permitted. Commercial sales through pharmacies began in July 2017 but have been hindered by supply problems and by curtailed access to financial services—a constraint that applies to U.S. cannabis dispensaries as well—pushing Uruguayan authorities to consider creating new, cash-only cannabis sales outlets.

On March 21, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings will release a paper examining Uruguay’s progress in implementing its pioneering cannabis law. WOLA’s John Walsh and Brookings’ John Hudak, two of the paper’s authors, will be joined by a panel of experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities Uruguay faces five years after legalization.

After the session, speakers will take audience questions. You can follow the conversation on Twitter using #Legalization.