Trella CEO Treks to Uruguay's Museo del Cannabis

February was a perfect time to emerge from the lab in chilly New England, and head to warm and beautiful Uruguay for a family vacation. But like most entrepreneurs, I couldn’t help but take care of some business research while away.

Cannabis is technically legal in Uruguay, and it was the first country in the world to legalize cannabis for medicinal use (surprise... it’s not Amsterdam). So my trip couldn’t have been complete without a visit to the Museo del Cannabis in Montevideo (see pictures below).

At the Museum I learned that you must be a citizen of Uruguay and a registered patient to access marijuana in Uruguay. Essentially, this means complete government control of the medical marijuana system, which certainly is not all bad. But, what I saw as the negative part of Uruguay’s system is that there’s virtually no opportunity for everyday citizens to work in the industry.

While exploring the Museum and speaking with its staff, I learned that, quite often citizens are weary of documentation and therefore do not want to register as patients. I also met an experienced grower who believes that the registration system further stigmatizes and marginalizes patients, and keeps product quality sub-par – something I wasn’t surprised to hear, as we have similar concerns back home.

Ultimately I learned that just like back home in the U.S., regardless of which state or its legal status, we are all still growing together in this nascent industry. What’s important for all of us is to know that others share our struggles and that by working together we can achieve great change in our laws, break stigma, and create easy access to cannabis products.