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Uruguay

  • By: John H. Barnhill
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Uruguay is in southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil. Uruguay is a transit country for drugs, particularly cocaine bound for Europe. It is vulnerable to drug transit because of its inability to control the Brazilian border. Law enforcement corruption and money-laundering operations are also problematic. Marijuana is by far the most widely used illegal drug in Uruguay, with approximately 6 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 64 using marijuana annually.

Recently, cocaine consumption, and the consumption of cocaine base, has increased, and the United Nations (UN) estimates that approximately 1.3 percent of the population use cocaine. Synthetic drug use has also increased recently.

Policy Development

Uruguay has never criminalized personal use of drugs, and a 1974 law allows ...

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