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Uruguay in July will become the first modern nation on Earth to fully legalize the production, sale and consumption of cannabis. The South American country will take the big step in July, when its pharmacies will be allowed to sell recreational marijuana.

“Cannabis will be dispensed in pharmacies starting in the month of July,” confirmed Juan Andres Roballo, who is the head of the National Drugs Council, reports  Sixteen pharmacies have registered with the government of the small nation to sell recreational weed, reports Reuters. That number is expected to increase to 30 in the coming months, according to Roballo.

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Juan Andres Roballo, Uruguay National Drugs Council:
“Cannabis will be dispensed in pharmacies starting in the month of July”
[Uruguay Presidencia]

Uruguay legalized the cultivation, distribution and consumption oil marijuana back in 2013, under previous President Jose Mujica, but the rollout has been deliberately slow. Pharmacies were originally expected to be authorized to sell cannabis by the end of 2014, but that was delayed many times.

The country has stockpiled 400 kilos (880 pounds) of cannabis so far. Citizens and permanent residents who want to buy weed from a pharmacy are required to be 18 or older, and must enroll in a national registry of cannabis users before purchase. The government registry for pot smokers is set to open on May 2.

Customers will be limited to 40 grams (1.41 oz) per month, with a limit of 10 grams per week. That certainly seems a little stuffy to three-or-four-grams-a-day me, but I suppose it’s a start.

When marijuana goes on sale in drug stores, adults will only be able to buy it in 5-gram containers at $1.30 per gram. Foreigners won’t be allowed to buy weed from pharmacies in Uruguay. Ten-gram containers are expected to be introduced later, allowing customers to buy a whole week’s supply at once.

Roballo said the government marijuana sold in pharmacies will be as potent as black market weed found on the street. “Buyers will have complete certainty about the quality of the product they are consuming, and so the risks will diminish considerably,” he said.

“This is not to promote it, but to compete with the informal market,” according to Roballo. I just love that he called it “the informal market” rather than “the black market” or “drug cartels.” That’s a much more civilized way of terming it.

Uruguayans are also allowed to grow their own marijuana at home, or in cooperative with cannabis clubs.


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