Legal highs make Uruguay a beacon for marijuana research

Lizzie is Science's Latin America correspondent, based in Mexico City.

When Uruguay legalized the production, sale, and use of marijuana last year, the country's scientists saw an opportunity. A new lab has been founded at the medical school of the University of the Republic in Montevideo to study the drug's chemistry, genetics, medical uses, and side effects. Scientists around the world say that marijuana's illicit status in most countries has created cumbersome regulations that hinder good science about the drug. Now that the Uruguayan scientists have been freed from these obstacles, they could be poised to fill in glaring research gaps.

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