Uruguay Will Set Up Cash-Only Cannabis Dispensaries

On Wednesday, the Uruguayan government announced it will be opening dedicated adult-use marijuana dispensaries that will only be taking cash for purchases. In July, 16 pharmacies started selling legal cannabis in the South American nation. The initiative led to a banking nightmare when financial institutions in Uruguay threatened to cancel the accounts of businesses participating […]
Marijuana

Uruguay Marijuana Sales Begin This Week

Legal adult marijuana sales began in Uruguay on Wednesday, making it the first country in the world to establish a regulated market for the product. This follows previous phases of legalization permitting growers’ clubs and home cultivation.

Official sales have been long awaited following a legalization proposal put forward by former President José Mujica in 2012. This was given final approval by Parliament in December 2013 — legally regulating the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana — but has taken longer than expected to implement following a presidential election in 2015 and delays in funding for the regulatory authority.

Under the Uruguay model, the market is very much state-led. Two private firms — Symbiosis and the International Cannabis Corp. — have licenses to grow, package, and distribute marijuana, but production is capped to 400 tons annually (estimated to be around 15% of current consumption). These firms are not allowed to market the product, and the government determines the genetic makeup and THC content.

Legal sales take place in pharmacies in five-gram packages sold for 187 Uruguayan pesos ($ 6.50), with two products on offer: ‘Alfa 1’ and ‘Beta 1’. Only citizens and legal permanent residents aged 18 and older are allowed to purchase marijuana, and they must register with the government to do so. So far, almost 5,000 individuals have done so.

The introduction of this regulated market has been closely monitored and implemented, with the government taking measures to avoid creating a hub for marijuana tourism. All forms of advertising have been banned, and the production of infused edibles is prohibited. Additionally, consumers are limited to purchasing 40 grams a month — an amount monitored by fingerprint scans at every sale.

The post Uruguay Marijuana Sales Begin This Week appeared first on MPP Blog.


MPP Blog

Uruguay Officially Starts Selling Marijuana

Uruguay is now the first country to legalize and start selling recreational marijuana nationwide.

The country has 16 pharmacies selling cannabis, and thousands of people have registered to be able to purchase it. In 2013, the country voted to legalize marijuana.

From Vice News:

“The weed, however, isn’t very strong. Uruguay is offering two different strains, dubbed Alpha 1 and Beta 1. Both have a THC content of just 2 percent, much lower than the levels found in legal recreational weed in the U.S. In Colorado, recreational marijuana contains an average of 18.7 percent THC; in Washington state, it’s 16 percent. The Uruguayan government is also putting a strict quota in place, limiting the amount of weed a customer can purchase.”

Marijuana legalization advocates are calling this a major win, and they hope other countries will follow Uruguay’s lead.

“This follows from increasing momentum by leaders in Latin America in calling for alternatives to the war on drugs,” Hannah Hetzer, an analyst at the Drug Policy Alliance, told the New York Times. “What’s so important about this is it takes a debate about the need for alternatives and provides an actual proposal for an actual policy.”

The president isn’t a smoker who wants everyone to be able to smoke, he just wanted to legalize marijuana to take power and money away from the drug cartels. In order to stay competitive with the cartels, the country will keep prices low and won’t tax it, Vox reports.

“Under the first batch of regulations released in May by the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis, marijuana will cost less than $ 1 a gram,” Vox states. “For comparison, marijuana in Colorado and Washington currently sells for roughly $ 10 to $ 20 a gram.”

It certainly does seem more logical to legalize marijuana to fight cartels than it does to make it illegal and punish those who use it. Perhaps with a bit of luck and some hard work, we’ll get the U.S. government to do the same thing. After all, cartels have already been hurt by states that have legalized.

[Photo via Matt Rubens/Wikimedia]

The 420 Times

Uruguay is Using Weed to Stop Stoned Driving

As marijuana legalization spreads throughout the world, one main sticking point for the opposition has been the potential impairment of drivers. With more people using cannabis products, it has become increasingly important to acknowledge the dangers of driving while stoned. It was once believed that, like alcohol, breathalyzer devices could solve the issue and keep impaired […]
Marijuana

Uruguay Votes for New President, Marijuana Future Cloudy


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Soft spoken leftist Uruguayan President Jose Mujica’s dream of legalizing cannabis to curb violence and drug problems in his country may be on the outs along with his role as the country’s leader.

Uruguay voted Sunday, choosing between Mujica’s hopeful successor, Tabare Vazques or Louis Lacalle Pou, a young conservative member of the National Party. Vasquez does not have enough votes to win the election outright in the country’s first round of voting and will likely have to face a runoff election in November.

But Mujica’s recent social and legal reforms over the last few years – including marijuana and abortion – have more conservative Uruguayans chattering. Rou is listening, and told Routers that he would actively work to repeal Mujica’s marijuana policy if he is elected.

Mujica last year signed a law that legalized limited amounts of cannabis in that country, making the law official in the country after weeks of international attention. The measure allows adults to cultivate up to six plants at home every year and keep up to 17 ounces of herb from those plants. The law also allows for people to create smoking and cultivation cooperatives with as many as 45 members. Growers, sellers, wholesalers and even customers will be tracked through government systems. Each adult is allowed to purchase up 40 grams every month and cannabis sales will only be allowed to Uruguayans licensed in the program.

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Uruguay to allow pot users to buy up to 20 joints a week

Marijuana plants are seen in an indoor cultivation in Montevideo December 6, 2013. Uruguay's senate will vote on December 10 to create a government body to control the cultivation and sale of marijuana and allow residents to grow it at home or as part of smoking clubs. The use of marijuana is already legal in the South American nation, but sale and cultivation is not. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure, which is backed by leftist President Jose Mujica. Picture taken December 6, 2013. REUTERS/Andres Stapff (URUGUAY - Tags: POLITICS DRUGS SOCIETY) - RTX16AZG

Marijuana plants are seen in an indoor cultivation in Montevideo December 6, 2013. Uruguay’s senate will vote on December 10 to create a government body to control the cultivation and sale of marijuana and allow residents to grow it at home or as part of smoking clubs. The use of marijuana is already legal in the South American nation, but sale and cultivation is not. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure, which is backed by leftist President Jose Mujica. Picture taken December 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Andres Stapff (URUGUAY – Tags: POLITICS DRUGS SOCIETY) – RTX16AZG

(Reuters) – Uruguayans will be able buy up to 10 grams of pot a week, enough to roll 20 joints, under new rules governing the recently legalized marijuana trade in the country, a government source said on Thursday.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because President Jose Mujica has not yet decreed the new regulations, said the government will auction up to six licenses to produce cannabis legally.

Mujica is expected to sign off on the rules in coming days. He proposed the landmark legalization law to undermine drug trafficking.

Uruguay, the first country to legalize the growing and sale of marijuana, is being closely watched by other countries debating drug liberalization.

Cannabis consumers will have to register with the government on a confidential list before making purchases from authorized pharmacies, according to the law passed by Congress in December.

The pharmacies can only be supplied by private growers authorized by the government, which will oversee quality and choose varieties. Individuals will also be able to grow up to six plants for personal use.

Uruguay has said it is also considering having marijuana grown on a plot of land controlled by the military to avoid illegal trafficking of the crop.

Ten to 20 hectares (25 to 49 acres) of marijuana would likely be enough to meet domestic demand, according to preliminary estimates.

Authorities have suggested setting the price for marijuana at $ 1 per ounce to compete with Paraguayan cannabis that has flooded the black market.

    About 20,000 of the 3.3 million people who live in Uruguay are estimated to use marijuana every day.

The majority of Uruguayans oppose the new law, but do not want it repealed until its impacts can be assessed, according to a poll by the consulting firm Cifra published on Thursday.

(Reporting By Malena Castaldi. Writing by Mitra Taj. Editing by Andre Grenon)


Reuters: Oddly Enough

Uruguay looks to lead in cannabis research, Paraguay still in the dark ages


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With marijuana still sitting unjustly on Schedule I of the controlled substances list here in the U.S., official in-depth studies on the specific effects that differing strains of weed can elicit have been limited, both in number and in scope.

Fortunately, the South American nation of Uruguay has recently legalized marijuana use on a national level, opening the door for a very willing and eager community of scientists and researchers to set up shop and begin to give ganja a long overdue honest lab-grade analysis.

Among the first studies to be announced comes out of the University of the Republic in the capitol city of Montevideo, where a mixed bag of different researchers have assembled to study the 85 different identified cannabinoids, as well as any new data they may uncover, to determine the effects of long-term cannabis use on human sleep behavior.

The differences between indica and sativa cannabis strains are as varied as the countless levels of hybrid options in between the two, but probably the most universally recognized contrast is that sativas are typically more cerebral and motivating, whereas indicas are usually more body-centered and relaxing. Comparing those various cannabinoid profiles on a molecular level is the aim of the study.

One of the men associated with the research team, a neurobiologist and sleep specialist named Atilio Falconi, is excited to begin the research, telling the El Observador newspaper, “There are uses and effects attributed to cannabis that interest us for analysis.”

The study is green-lit, and researchers now just wait for the full effects of the country’s new marijuana legalization laws to take effect. They plan to begin in April of this year. In the meantime, the new cultivation laws that came with legalization have kicked in for the most part, and have local growers split on where they stand on it all.

Juan Andres Palese, owner of a small grow supply shop called Urugrow, is happy to be able to step out of the shadows and into a legal market, allowing him to expand his business. “The law is a great way to start with this issue. For us it’s really useful. We have more customers, “he told the Associated Press last year when the new laws were passed by the voters.

However, the AP also interviewed another man who anonymously stated his resentment for the new laws, saying that the 6-plant limit was unjust, and that his refusal to adhere to it makes him a criminal by default.

One way or another, they need to solve their marijuana supply issue, as demand from locals and pot tourism only continues to get higher. As it stands now, a majority of the ganja being smoked in Uruguay is being imported from Paraguay.

While that may seem like a great gateway to pot legalization in Paraguay, and an eventual legal international cannabis trade agreement, Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes has stated loudly and clearly that it’s not going to happen on his watch.

He preaches often about having watched former high school classmates “suffer and die”, as well as witnessing the alleged suffering of those around them. Yet, even with his strict anti-cannabis laws in place, Paraguay still ranks second in the Americas in pot production, behind only Mexico.

Keeping it illegal domestically means that all of that product hits the black market, mostly abroad in foreign markets – some as far away as Europe. The massive smuggling apparatus involved in moving so much weight inevitably leads to episodes of extreme violence across the Paraguayan countryside, when locals find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

To truly test the societal benefits of marijuana legalization, particularly when it comes to crime rates, Uruguay will need to find a way to cut off the flow of illegal weed pouring in from Paraguay, at least until their nearby neighbor to the north passes some new laws of its own.

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Marijuana legalization in Uruguay is official


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Uruguayan President Jose Mujica signed a bill legalizing limited amounts of cannabis in that country Monday night, finally making the law official in the country after weeks of international attention.

The signing went into effect with little or no fanfare or ceremony. In fact, it was the president’s secretary, Diego Canepa who quietly made the announcement on Tuesday morning to international press.

The measure will also allow adults to cultivate up to six plants at home every year and keep up to 17 ounces of herb from those plants. The law also allows for people to create smoking and cultivation cooperatives with as many as 45 members. Growers, sellers, wholesalers and even customers will be tracked through government systems. Each adult will be allowed to purchase up 40 grams every month. Cannabis sales will only be allowed to Uruguayans licensed in the program.

The government will now spend the next four months in rulemaking to establish the legal system, though Uruguayan adults can now begin possessing, using and growing up to six plants at home.

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VIDEO: Mujica explica por qué apoya la legalización de la marihuana en Uruguay

El Presidente José Mujica explica porque apoya la legalización del cultivo, la venta y el consumo de marihuana en Uruguay.

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