On April 6, 2017, Uruguay’s three-year legalization journey hit a pivotal milestone. The Uruguayan government officially gave the okay for pharmacies throughout the country to begin selling recreational marijuana starting in July, as reported by Reuters.
According to Juan Roballo, head of the National Drug Board, the small country already has 16 pharmacies registered to be the first set of pharmacies selling marijuana this summer and an additional 14 should be registered over the next few months.
Pharmacies will only be allowed to sell marijuana that is cultivated by licensed growers. The country has been one of the few at the forefront of legalizing marijuana, and the government has high hopes that the authorization of pharmacies selling marijuana will “guarantee the quality and the purity of the product,” Roballo said.
The entire structure will be strictly regulated by the Uruguayan government. According to Reuters, pharmacies “must sell the substance in 5 gram (0.18 oz.) containers at $1.30 per gram, though 10-gram containers are expected to be introduced later.”
Citizens will be restricted from buying more than 40 grams of marijuana a month or 10 grams per week. The country will require that customers be 18 years of age or older and be registered with the government, a process that will begin on May 2, in order to purchase marijuana.
According to Roballo, “Uruguay complies, in this way, with the public policy of regulating alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, in accordance with national and international exchange, which gives coherence to the regulatory framework.”
Though legal to Uruguayan citizens, tourists will be prohibited from buying the drug.
Uruguay originally planned on allowing pharmacies to sell recreational marijuana in 2014, but the process was deferred on several occasions.