Uruguay readies for launch of rec marijuana program

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Uruguay this week took the final step needed to launch its legal recreational marijuana program.

Sixty-five post offices across Uruguay began accepting registrations from prospective cannabis buyers on Tuesday, the PanAm Post reported, setting the stage for registered cannabis customers to legally begin buying rec MJ in early July.

The adult-use cannabis will initially be sold at 16 licensed pharmacies, AFP reported, but as many as 30 pharmacies eventually could be online.

This marks the culmination of a journey that began in 2013 when Uruguay passed a landmark law making it the first nation to legalize the production, sale and consumption of cannabis. Though Uruguayans have been allowed to smoke cannabis in clubs and grow the plant at home since the law was passed, they now will be able to buy government-approved cannabis in a licensed setting.

Marijuana sales in Uruguay initially were expected to begin as far back as 2014, but the market’s launch has been delayed multiple times.

According to AFP, regulations that have been crafted for Uruguay’s rec MJ industry include:

  • Marijuana will be cultivated at undisclosed locations near the capitol Montevideo by private firms under state regulation.
  • Only Uruguayans or foreigners with permanent residency status will be allowed to purchase adult-use cannabis.
  • Registered customers – they must be fingerprinted to sign up – will be limited to 1.4 ounces (40 grams) per month.
  • A gram of marijuana will cost $1.30, which one person told AFP is “less than half the price on the black market.” The government’s goal when it approved rec MJ was to compete with black-market sources.