Few Uruguay Pharmacies Interested in Selling Rec Cannabis

Relatively few pharmacies in Uruguay are interested in selling recreational marijuana, even though it will soon be legal for them to do so.

So far, only 50 of the country’s roughly 1,200 pharmacies have registered to begin selling recreational cannabis in the coming weeks, the Associated Press reported.

The reason? They don’t want to be robbed or run afoul of the country’s black market dealers. That’s on top of the additional pain of paperwork, higher business costs, and general customer opposition to cannabis.

“Besides the fear of robberies, enrolling in the system means a hike in costs and having to be up to date with all the paperwork demanded by the health ministry, and not all pharmacies are in a condition to do this,” Isabel Regent, the head of the Association of Interior Pharmacies, told the AP.

Meanwhile, sales are expected to begin by late July, according to two government officials, who added that having only a small number of pharmacies selling cannabis may make the system easier to control. One official added that the government is “not ruling out using other networks or even vending machines in the future.”

Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana in 2013, but it’s taken this long to get its distribution system up and running.