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Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

© AFP | A man cuts flowers of a cannabis plant at the back-yard of his house in Montevideo.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-08-28

People in Uruguay who want to grow their own marijuana were able to register to do so on Wednesday as the government launched the latest phase in its first-of-its-kind legalisation programme.

Under a law that went into effect in May, citizens of Uruguay or legal residents who are at least 18 can grow marijuana for personal use if they register. There is a limit of six female plants, with an annual harvest of up to 480 grams.

Only 10 people had registered by midday Wednesday to be private growers – three in the capital, Montevideo, and seven in the South American country’s interior, according to the newly created Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA).

Juan Vaz, a well-known cannabis activist, said he registered and found the process easy but can understand why some might be reluctant.

“There are some people who might feel persecuted,” Vaz said. “For many years, they grew plants in secret and it’s hard to break from that way of thinking.”

Uruguay is the first country to fully legalise the production, sale and distribution of marijuana. The law, passed by parliament in December 2013, also allows for the formation of growers and users clubs and the sale by pharmacies of 40 grams of pot a month to registered users.

So far, no club has yet completed all the requirements to begin operations but at least four have started the process. President Jose Mujica has said the sale through pharmacies will be postponed until next year.

Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for October and the major opposition candidates have signalled that they intend to repeal all or part of the law if they gain the presidency or a majority in the parliament.

The leading opposition candidate, Luis Lacalle Pou, has said he would repeal the sale at pharmacies but allow the option to grow marijuana for personal use.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

Date created : 2014-08-28

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