The first country in the world to legalize most uses of marijuana is looking to capture business away from illicit sellers and bolster its cannabis industry by allowing foreign visitors to buy pot.
The administration of Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou could release its plan as soon as this year in a bid to build political consensus and support, said Daniel Radio, secretary general of the National Drugs Board. The aim isn’t to promote Uruguay as a destination for cannabis tourism, but rather to steer tourists away from the black market and into the regulated market, according to Deputy Tourism Minister Remo Monzeglio.
Giving tourists access to legal cannabis would dramatically increase the industry’s pool of potential customers in the country of 3.5 million people. Normally, millions of Argentines and Brazilians flock to the country’s beaches during summer in the southern hemisphere, which runs from December through February. But the pandemic eroded these numbers as the nation severely limited foreign visits. Uruguay plans to reopen its borders to all fully vaccinated foreigners starting Nov. 1.
“It seems to me that if we come up with a good proposal,” Uruguay could open its regulated pot market to tourists, Radio said in an interview. “For the upcoming tourism season, it’s highly unlikely, but I wouldn’t rule it out.” [Read more at Hindustan Times]