MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s first “marijuana fair,” dubbed “Expocannabis” was opened on Sunday in Montevideo, a year after the growing and sale of the drug was legalized in this country.
The legalization was aimed for producers and users to exchange information about the medicinal, therapeutic and industrial possibilities of pot.
Workshops, audiovisual projections, information stands, product sales and conferences with national and international experts are on the agenda of the fair.
Over the next two days, participants hope they can demystify cannabis by informing the public of its beneficial and harmful effects.
“The intention is to have a space of exchange for state players, social organizations, research centers, private players and the public,” exhibition content and development director Mercedes Ponce de Leon told Efe.
A year ago, Uruguay legalized cannabis and regulated the domestic market, the first South American country to do so.
Every permanent resident or Uruguayan citizen in the country who wants to grow marijuana at home can go to a post office and apply for a producer license to grow freely and legally up to six cannabis plants and harvest up to 16.9 ounces of marijuana per year for personal consumption.
Cannabis clubs can also be set up and can have up to 45 partners and 99 plants.
The destigmatization is an important issue for Ponce de Leon, since, in her opinion, the people who smoke marijuana are not criminals and she said she will continue working towards the promotion of medicinal marijuana.
The Americas program coordinator of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, Hannah Hetzer, said that while there is a fight for the legalization of marijuana going on, it is also a fight for something bigger, which is social justice, both for the people of this country and others like the United States.
U.S. federal law classifies marijuana as an illegal drug, although the Obama administration has allowed individual states to develop their own regulations.