Two South American Cannabis Markets Advance

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Chile and Uruguay have taken significant steps recently to advance their respective marijuana markets.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed a decree that authorizes the sale of cannabis-derived medicines at pharmacies and removes marijuana from the country’s list of hard drugs. The decree hasn’t been published officially, but the Associated Press obtained a copy Friday.

Still, the planting, selling and transporting of marijuana without a specific medical sanction as part of Chile’s MMJ pilot program remains illegal and carries prison terms of five to 10 years.

The National Drug Board of Uruguay, the first nation to legalize recreational marijuana, announced Saturday that registered marijuana users in the country will be able to choose from three varieties of state-sanctioned cannabis when marijuana sales begin in pharmacies, Reuters reported.

That will likely be in mid-2016, the Uruguayan government estimated, when the country’s two licensed producers start selling their first commercial load of about four tons. Uruguay’s program also allows individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use. Some 3,200 people have so far registered for personal grow licenses.

Marijuana will cost about $1 per gram, with locals allowed to buy up to 40 grams per month.

Uruguay is also working with companies interested in exploring the possibility of exporting medical marijuana to the United States and Europe.