No, not selling weed. Seeds, paraphernalia, maybe growing supplies. I didn’t even bother to look inside. I was showing some visitors around.
Uruguay legalized marijuana — sort of — in 2013.
You can legally grow six plants at home, but you’re supposed to register with the government, an idea which for some reason weed users (and people who remember the military rule) don’t universally embrace. You can join a cooperative and grow up to 99 plants. But no weed is available through pharmacies, as planned, because many pharmacies oppose the idea. (Because marijuana is so unhealthy, don’t you know.)
Unlike Jamaica, Uruguay has decided not to sell marijuana, if and when it’s ever available, to non-residents and non-citizens. However,
Montevideo is now littered with shops selling weed paraphernalia to both locals and tourists. A biscuit firm is marketing alfajores – the country’s national snack, two chocolate biscuits sandwiching a layer of dulce de leche – at dope users suffering the munchies. Its yellow “Marley” packaging seems to be in almost every convenience store, complete with a lion waving a Rastafarian flag and a large dope leaf. [source]
Needless to say, I’ve never seen one. Must be a Montevideo thing. Reminds me of the Macarena: the U.S. nationwide song craze that no one outside the Washington Beltway had ever heard of. But I digress.
Uruguay’s laudable marijuana initiative will hopefully pan out. Meanwhile, it’s looking — to me at least — as a well-meant, and welcome, move, that can only come to fruition through a miracle: the government bureaucracy actually allowing human beings to thrive. Here, as everywhere else, they seem to revel in doing the exact opposite.
There is a reported case of Dengue Fever in Pocitos, one of the most upscale and populous regions of Montevideo. And a couple dozen more suspected cases.
So, what’s a government to do?
Why, the obvious: freak out and poison every living thing in the vicinity, assuredly killing every bee, butterfly, and ladybug, and probably severely impacting the health of small pets and children as well. Oh, yeah, and I guess it kind of wipes out any songbirds too.
But you can be sure it’s perfectly safe, and that the HAZMAT suits are just a fashion statement. Some politico went on TV to say that rather than shut themselves inside, residents should open all their windows to allow the lovely curative chemical vapors to permeate everything in their living space.
Reminiscent of the USA in the 1950s:
Just another day in Yesterguay.
Pocitos photos courtesy of Lee Nelson. DDT photo shamelessly kited from somewhere.
Confiscated motorbikes behind the Intendencia.
Judging by the tree growing, they’ve been there a while.
How things work (officially) in Uruguay is seldom the same as how they work in reality.
When I realized, in 2012, that I’d forgotten to renew my driver’s license (doing the homologación from a foreign license is easy, but they only gave me two years), I researched and discovered that 1) if you miss renewal by under two weeks, no problem, 2) between two weeks and two years, you have to take the written and driving test, and 3) after two years you have to take driving school.
In my case, the two weeks had passed, and the two years would come next October, but my foreign license—from Mexico—expires two days from now.
Today was my appointment. I was a little nervous about taking a test in Spanish, though I had studied the Manual de Aspirantes and found nothing daunting. I figured the driving part was no problem. I’ve gone 40 years without an accident (other than bozos running into me).
The whole process took over and hour and a half: present required paperwork. Wait. Name called. Take paperwork to cashier, pay $1,000 (USD 45). Get in line. Give receipt. Wait. Name called. Photo taken. Wait. Name called. Sign here; here’s your license.