Uruguay, has been, historically, a country of strong democratic roots and vanguardist on matters of freedom. It was amongst the first countries on accomplishing the slavery abolishment, in giving free healthcare, separating the state from the church, acknowledging divorce because of women will only and to legislate on the 8 hours work schedule, among others.
However, "freedoms" were lost between 1973 and 1985. Democracy's comeback brought with it many citizen's and politician's request for lifting the prohibition on cannabis self-harvesting. In a way, for many Uruguay citizens, Cannabis is like Mate. It goes from hand to hand, mouth to mouth. It's an “agglutinator”, it gathers friends, people, sharing it works as an ice-breaker. Cannabis usage is a practice, of mostly young people, but it has already reached Uruguayans of all ages.
These last years the country has moved forward on matters of human rights: Women right to pregnancy interruption on its first stages, marriage equality and cannabis legalization placed Uruguay back on a vanguardist role in said subjects. In 2013 Uruguay became the first country in the world in exploring a freedom and regulation environment for cannabis use that was well-known along the world, to a point in which we were named "country of the year" by The Economist magazine.
Law 19.172 states how to legally acquire the plant. It can be grown in limited quantities at home, one can join a cannabis club and there currently other ways in development. Doors are also open to legally develop Hemp and medicinal cannabis. History will tell if Uruguay will develop new industries. This museum promotes that vision.
Uruguay's freedom milestones
The “rigging maker” José Reguera begins the hemp plantation on behalf of the Spanish Crown in San Felipe y Santiago of Montevideo.
First Uruguayan constitution abolished slavery.
Francisco Acuña de Figueroa mentions cannabis in “El Universal” newspaper as pito de pango. African’s used it in Candombe and Xango rites.
Uruguay ratified first international conventions against drugs and repression against opium and cocaine began in “dating houses”, brothels, boarding houses and cabarets.
Fibra Vegetal Inc. company monopolizes hemp industry. The University of Agronomy of the University of the Republic begins to experiment with cannabis crops.
Gabriel Terra’s dictatorship forbids drug usage and awards itself with the monopoly of its merchandizing.
“Narcotics Brigade” is created in the orbit of the Interior Ministry.
Decree/Law 14.294 of the dictatorship decriminalized, allowed drug usage in “minimal” amounts. Between 1972 and the first 6 months of 1978, 1054 people were arrested for drug use, 425 were processed by the justice system.
Law 17.016 was approved, which decriminalized the usage of a “reasonable” dose. It was the first law regarding drugs that was approved through democracy.
President Jorge Batlle pronounces himself in favor of legalization during an interview with “Latitude30/35” magazine.
First Montevideo’s protest march for the sake of legalization. In the next years the “Cannabis Liberation Movement” was created, originally formed by ProDerechos, AECU, La Plazita and “leftist youth political groups from the Frente Amplo coalition”.
Deputy Luis Lacalle Pou presents a law for cannabis legalization. It authorizes home-farming, increases trafficking penalties.
After activist Alicia Castilla’s arrest and the Movement for Cannabis Liberation’s protest rally many deputies think about a law for home-farming and that allows 25 grams of cannabis.
June 19th. José Mujica’s den announces the regularization of cannabis market.
December 20th. The Senate approves the law that regularizes cannabis market.
September. Government gives 2 licenses for cannabis production, to Licorp and Simbyosys.
December. Montevideo’s Museum of Cannabis opens its doors.