“Uruguay was the first nation to legalize and regulate cannabis, back in 2013, so it would seem to be a gold mine for research attempting to measure the many effects of such a seismic change—social, medical, and biochemical. But researchers in that nation say they face hurdles that can slow and block their work, including some of the same kinds of hurdles faced by researchers in the U.S.
After the cultivation and distribution of cannabis was made legal for medical and recreational uses, the government of Uruguay said it intended to inform public policy with research. More than half of Uruguayans did not agree with the law in 2013, but the government pushed it as a measure for the collective good. One part of the logic: If cannabis sales were regulated by the government, illicit markets would lose some power over the nation. And good research, government officials reasoned, might shine a light on other positive—or potentially negative—results. Yet some Uruguayan scientists blame bureaucratic barriers, low funding, and a cannabis stigma for seriously hampering such research.”