Uruguay is gearing up to export marijuana now that it has legalized cannabis use, with one government official saying the country is “enthusiastic” about tapping the global market.
The move highlights missed opportunities – and future possibilities – for U.S. marijuana companies, which currently cannot sell cannabis to other countries because the drug is still illegal at the federal level.
If the U.S. government ever gets its act together and legalizes marijuana, it could open the door to cannabis exports – and tens of million of dollars in revenues for cannabusinesses.
The demand is sizable: Uruguay has already received inquiries from several countries – including Canada, Chile and Israel – that are interested in importing cannabis for medical use. Research institutes in other countries have also asked about setting up labs in Uruguay to study marijuana.
International demand is set to grow rapidly as more countries look to relax marijuana laws and approve the use of cannabis for medical or recreational purposes.
Last month, Uruguay became the first nation in the world to legalize the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana for general use. It is now developing regulations on cannabis businesses and expects to have final rules in place by April.