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Can foreigners buy marijuana in Uruguay?

Uruguayan Association for Cannabis Studies

First of all, let’s get it straight. There are no sales of cannabis to visitors to Uruguay. To be able to buy weed, you need to be Uruguayan or a resident. So no, Uruguay is not the next Amsterdam. There are no brown cafes. But all is not lost, Uruguayans are super-friendly about offering their home-grown. So read on for more about the legal situation including how it affects travellers.

Buying weed in Uruguay

Uruguayan citizens and registered residents living here for at least two years are able to buy up to 40g of marijuana per month from the pharmacy.

Customers need to register at the post office with the information being fed to a central database. Anyone consuming their limit will be flagged for treatment or to see if they are selling their stash (which will be illegal).

Marijuana finally went on sale in July 2017, four years after the landmark legislation was approved.

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Cultiva conciencia
Graffiti found in Montevideo says “Cultivate awareness” Photo: Guru’Guay

But say you are a visitor to Uruguay and someone offers you a joint or some marijuana as a gift – it’s yours for the smoking!

Personal use of cannabis has been decriminalised in Uruguay as far back as 1974. What is illegal is selling.

If you are wondering, Uruguay’s marijuana laws regarding public consumption are similar to the tobacco laws.

Over 18s can smoke pot anywhere other than a public building or enclosed place of work. So you can’t smoke inside a cafe or restaurant (a place of work for the wait staff) but you can smoke at the outdoor tables.

Growing your own

To be able to grow your own marijuana in Uruguay, first you have to register – at the post office.

I LOVE this. If you want to take the drama out of marijuana, pass this law. Don’t ask growers to register with the police. No, make it the good old homespun postal service. So Uruguayan.

Then any household can grow up to 6 plants*. Groups of between fifteen and 45 people can join together to form a “Club de Cannabis” and grow up to 99 plants*.

Registering to grow

Of course people are worried about the privacy issues around this central database. How can you be sure if the information will not be used by other government departments? This has turned off a fair few people from registering as growers already.

However I was really surprised when the law first came into effect a spoof video was filmed where real people were lured into a pharmacy in Parque Rodó (love the rasta chemist) under the pretence that a marijuana sales pilot was underway. On the video, you see people happily providing fingerprints and having their photo taken to get registered.

Is Uruguayan pot super cheap?

Licensed pharmacies are selling the drug for just over 1 USD a gramme –which is a tenth of what the same quantity would cost in the US.

* female, in flower

This article has benefited from the help of Rosina at AECU, the Uruguayan Association for Cannabis Studies in Parque Rodó, Montevideo.

This article was first published November 24 2014 and last updated at the date above.


Montevideo’s new cannabis museum

Find out more about Uruguay’s enlightened political history where drugs and alcohol are concerned

Photos: Guru’Guay


  1. Tenzin

    December 11, 2016

    We are a Tibetan family of 4-2 kids 2 adults traveling globally on low budget. We’ll be in Montevideo for a month. If anybody can give us a tour or their marijuana garden and can give us a tutorial on how its grown we’d greatly appreciate your kind hospitality.

  2. Ressand

    September 21, 2016

    Hello! Im coming to uruguay in december with my girlfriend. It is first time in uruguay and also in latin-america. I know that it is illegal to buy cannabis as a non-citizen, but if cannabis is gifted to you, is it actually legal to carry a small amount with you as a tourist? I use cannabis for easing my jointpain, it’s illegal here where i live but it is the best painkiller with nice side-effects ???? is there some popular places in montevideo or somewhere else in uruguay where people go to have a good time and maybe puff a few joints?? and by the way we are staying in casa sarandi ? thanks!

  3. celine

    August 18, 2016

    we travel by motorhome. for repairs we’re stuck here for over two months. We met several people who smoke. yet none could find us! not easy when you are foreigner !

    • jojo

      August 23, 2016

      nice article , hope we see more of this

  4. Jimmy Park

    June 6, 2016

    Hi, I saw your page and I found it really interesting. I lived in Las Vegas for more than 4 years and I just love smoking weed and chill. I have a Peruvian green card, which is from South America. I was wondering if residents can also relate to associated countries as well. Thank you, have a good one. Vamos Charruas !

    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      June 7, 2016

      Nice try, Jimmy!! But no, that won’t work. Peru is a long way from Uruguay and even neighboring country residents are not included under current legislation. But I am sure you will meet some friendly local who can gift you!

  5. kayai

    April 8, 2016

    Hi, i just moved to montevideo in February to study in an university. Im taking care of my residence permit and should have it by thrusday, does that mean I can register at the pharmacy? Or do i have to wait two years? Also to register myself in the pharmacy is there an process? Or do you simply appear and apply and boom you got your stash? Is there a card they give you to show your registered? Thanks

    • kayai

      April 9, 2016

      I also have another question, are the pharmacies selling pot already? Or its something that hasnt yet begun but will with time? Thanks again

      • Welshwitch in Uruguay

        April 12, 2016

        Hi Kayai, the pharmacies have not started selling marijuana yet. But the government-run harvest should be underway as I write, which means that it is only a matter of time. However do note that only Uruguayan citizens and legal residents will be able to buy cannabis over the counter. Not visitors. All the best Karen

    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      April 12, 2016

      Ah, ok! Sorry, did not see your previous message. Any cannabis customer will have to register at the pharmacy and their details will be input into a national database. Let me check with my AECU contacts regarding the residency requirements. Best Karen

  6. Rodrigo Kondo

    January 5, 2016

    Hola, soy brasileña y voy a estar aterrizando en un barco mañana. Sé que usted no puede comprar las malas hierbas que no soy un residente. pero, me pregunto si hay una visita guiada para conocer algunos club de hierba?

  7. hayden

    February 15, 2015

    Hi so a anyone can come to Uruguay can say rent a house there and therefor grow weed ? as it does not state that you cannot it only says you cant buy it. Is this the case?
    Kind regards

    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      February 15, 2015

      Hayden, good question. I would imagine this law is only good for citizens and legal residents, but let me check this out with AECU and get back to you.

      • Welshwitch in Uruguay

        March 26, 2015

        Hi there Hayden, I finally got to AECU last night and talked to the helpful secretary, Matias. He tells me that the law for growing is the same as for buying, so you need to be a legal resident or citizen to be able to grow. Best Karen

  8. daniel meneses

    February 1, 2015

    if you are from aborad and come to uruguay, send me a few lines, a lot of people here where I live in Aiguá will be happy to share and give you a taste, harvest time late april, may is wondrfull and the begining of shroom season, all r welcome, facebook, pelanan
    da, daniel menses

    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      February 1, 2015

      Well, so there you go, people. A very generous invitation from Daniel, a reader from Aigua in the sierras of Lavalleja.

    • Ranjit in Uruguay

      May 2, 2015

      Hi Daniel,

      Thank you! I would like to taste, if that is ok with you. I live in Montevideo.
      Kind Regards.

    • ani

      October 7, 2015

      HI Daniel, I was wondering if your offer still stands? I will be going to Montevideo next week and would love to try some Uruguayan homegrown!


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