Uruguay was the first country in the world to fully legalise marijuana, making it a global leader in progressive drug policy. Now it is home to a new museum dedicated entirely to cannabis.
The Montevideo Cannabis Museum is the first museum dedicated to the herb in Latin America and the southern hemisphere. Its mission is to promote “biological and cultural diversity” as well as offer a “cultural club” for visitors.
Cannabis legalisation and Uruguayan political history
The museum’s permanent exhibition puts Uruguay’s 2013 marijuana legalisation in context.
Uruguay has a strong tradition of personal freedom. On the wall in the museum is a quote by Uruguay’s founder General Artigas: “Con libertad, ni ofendo, ni temo” (In liberty, I do not offend, nor do I fear).
It’s just another example of Uruguay’s historically avant-garde approach to alcohol and drug consumption – as a public health issue rather than a criminal one.
As well as the small permanent exhibition, the museum has an outdoor herb and plant garden growing different strains of marijuana as well as the ubiquitous yerba mate – a non-psychoactive drink beloved by all Uruguayans.
There’s also an open-air cafe selling craft beer and hot and cold snacks open till midnight each day. The museum will host regular acoustic music events.
The building housing the museum itself has an interesting connection with Uruguay’s most influential musician, Eduardo Mateo. Mateo lived opposite the building in the 1990s and used to go there to take naps, inspiring a song “Siestitas de Mar de Fondo”.
The cannabis museum has official support
The museum is the brainchild of Eduardo Blasina, a trained agronomist who was part of conversations with the Uruguayan government during the legalisation process. He is also part of one of the associations that the government has licensed to grow marijuana for sale in pharmacies. So if he’s around you’ll be getting the legalisation story straight from the horse’s mouth.
The museum was set up with the support of the national Ministry of Tourism and the collaboration of the Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum in Amsterdam.
Visiting the Montevideo Cannabis Museum
Durazno 1784 (between Yaro and Frugoni), Palermo
Tuesday-Sunday 2-6pm. The cafe is open until midnight.
10 USD for foreign visitors, 9 USD for Guru’Guay readers and 200 pesos for locals.
We recommend coordinating in advance to ensure an English-language guide is available, or even better, that Eduardo is there.
The museum is eager to receive foreign visitors and explains that the differential pricing is to support this new ground-breaking initiative without making entry prohibitive for locals. They are grateful for your collaboration and understanding.