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In 2013, Uruguay became the first country to fully regulate the cannabis market, which now operates under state control. Cannabis can be legally acquired in three ways: growing it for personal use (self-cultivation), cannabis club membership, and from pharmacies (not yet implemented). Users must be entered into a confidential official registry to gain access.


This article presents findings of a Respondent Driven Sample survey of 294 high-frequency cannabis consumers in the Montevideo metropolitan area.


Frequent consumers resort to more than one method for acquiring cannabis, with illegal means still predominating after 1 year of the new regulation law. Cannabis users overwhelmingly support the current regulation, but many of them are reluctant to register.


Some of the attitudes and behaviors of the high-frequency consumers pose a challenge to the success of the cannabis law. Individuals relying on more than one method of access defy the single access clause, a prerequisite for legal use, while the maximum amount of cannabis individuals can access monthly seems too high even for most frequent consumers, which might promote the emergence of a grey market. Reluctance to register among a significant proportion of high-frequency consumers raises doubts about the law’s ability to achieve its stated objectives.

Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.