Uruguay is one of the most advanced south American countries, and it shows. Not only due to its rich culture and history, but also because of the fact that it is the first country in the world where it’s possible to purchase Marijuana from over the counter in pharmacies, although the law has not always been so accepting.

Similar to the Netherlands, the law in Uruguay allows possession of cannabis for personal use, but Cultivation of the plant is strictly forbidden, this forces users to head down shady back alleys and purchase the drug from criminal dealers or break the law by cultivating cannabis for their own use. Alicia Castilla who is the author of two best-selling books on cannabis, chose to grow it herself.

In January 2011 police raided her house and arrested Alicia whilst she was watering her Cannabis. The Police took everything from her computer to an orange squeezer.

She was sent to a prison where inmates ranged from crack addicts to murderers and where “rats as big as rabbits” lurked in the bathroom. This sparked global outrage that such an elderly lady should be imprisoned for growing a plant for her own consumption, and after 45 days of requests she was finally released into a rehabilitation center, where she began drafting a 3rd book that was based on her experiences.

Whilst there she gained the nickname of “Senora Cannabis” and fellow inmates would often clap when she walked into a room.

Still, Alicia faced between 2 to 10 years in prison, but as the Uruguayan people prided themselves on their liberal views it did not take long for them to take to the streets in process, and eventually Alicia’s 3 month incarceration paid off when people began bringing her legal marijuana drafts to look at in prison.

As anger began to grow all over the nation Alicia was released from custody, and her incarceration became the catalyst for the legalization of Marijuana cultivation.

Since 2014 people have now been free to grow up to 6 Marijuana plants in their homes, and purchasing some is as easy as a quick trip to the drugstore.

Plus, with Uruguay’s warm beaches, terrific food and friendly people, it’s one of the best countries in the world to go if you don’t want to get in trouble for lighting up a joint or two.