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It has been a while since the legalization of medical cannabis in 2013 in Uruguay. However, the industry in the South American country was not regulated properly, until recently. It was announced that starting July 2017, Uruguay will, for the first time ever, sell legal cannabis via registered pharmacies throughout the country.
Going back a few years, although many people may not be aware of it, but Uruguay happens to be the first American country that had legalized marijuana completely for adults. In December of 2013, the country also made the possession of marijuana legal. Unfortunately, despite the great leap forward, it failed to properly regulate the industry, and thus failed in cutting down the black market supply of cannabis in the past few years.
On the brighter side, the country continued to work in this regard, and had to go through quite a bit of trouble on the way. It was only after coping with such troubles that Uruguay was able to implement legal sales of the product.
The National Drug Council Head—Juan Andres Roballo—said in an interview that as of the moment, only 16 pharmacies have been registered to sell cannabis legally. The government, on the other hand, is aiming to crank that number up to thirty by July.
Not everyone can visit these pharmacies. To be entitled, the person must be 18 or above. Furthermore, it is also among the criterion that the person wishing to visit these pharmacies has to register with the Instituto de Regulacion y Control del Cannabis. These registrations will begin, starting from the 2nd of May 2017.
Signing up with this institution will have its perks. The Uruguayan citizen who enrolls in it will be allowed to purchase a maximum of 40 grams of marijuana monthly. Initially, only the 5-gram packages will be available at the pharmacies, but moving forward, 10-gram packages will also be introduced for the users. This regulation, however, bars tourists from foreign countries to get cannabis from these pharmacies.
There will also be a standard price for cannabis throughout the country. A gram of cannabis will be available for USD $1.30. Such a low price boggled many, but it was revealed that the sole reason for placing such a meager price tag was to compete with cannabis prices in the black market. Officials are firm that lower prices for legal cannabis will outdo the illegal competition in the country.
In addition to this, unlike many US states, the cultivation of cannabis will also be restricted. Only two companies in Uruguay have been granted the legal authority to grow cannabis. The two companies, Iccorp and Symbiosis, produce about two tons of marijuana yearly. In a recent announcement, the companies said that they will be producing three strains of cannabis for users.
Each strain will be different from the other in terms of THC levels, potency, and CBD. The lower-end variant—for beginners—will possess a lower THC level and high CBD. As we move to the higher end of the cannabis strains, the strength of the drug will also increase.