In Uruguay, the Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA) released a report on the national regulated market, based on data up to 5 June 2018.
After the market was legalised in 2013, resident users could register for only one of three ways to obtain cannabis: home growing, communal growing (social club), or buying state-grown cannabis from pharmacies (which only started to sell the drug in July 2017). Cannabis sold in pharmacies initially had a potency of 2.5 % THC and 6-7 % CBD, though this changed in December 2017 to 9 % THC and 3 % CBD. It is sold in 5-gram sachets for UY$200 [EUR 5.80], and users may buy 40 grams per month. As of June 2018, some 958 kilograms of cannabis had been sold in this way.
Who is buying?
Uruguay has a population of 3.5 million. The report shows that 35 246 people are registered to obtain cannabis; 8 583 by home growing, 24 324 for pharmacy purchases and 2 339 as members of 91 clubs (averaging 26 members per club). About three-quarters (18 981, or 78 %) of those registered for pharmacy purchase have actually made purchases. Comparing these numbers to a 2014 population survey of cannabis use, it is estimated that 24 % of those who had used the drug in the previous year in Uruguay get their cannabis from the legal market. However, IRCCA estimates that each home-grower and club member shares with two other users, and each pharmacy buyer shares with one, and in this way the policy reaches some 55 % of the users in the country. Males account for 73 % of the pharmacy purchasers and 76 % of the home-growers. Around 80 % of those registered for home grow or pharmacy purchases are aged between 18 and 44, with home-growers slightly older on average. Around two-thirds of those registered for pharmacy purchase are in employment.
Is cannabis available everywhere?
Eight out of 19 regions in the country have pharmacies selling cannabis. The region of the capital city, Montevideo, accounted for 57 % of the registrations for cannabis sold in pharmacies, as well as 45 % of the clubs, but only 32 % of the home-growers.