Uruguay’s Adult-Use Cannabis Market to Open for Business

Montevideo, Uruguay - December 15, 2012: Plaza indepedencia with the building Palacio Salvo and the statue of Jose Artigas in Montevideo, Uruguay.

It’s taken four years, but tomorrow, July 19, Uruguay will finally launch its legal, adult-use cannabis market. Sales, set to begin in pharmacies in the country, will make the small South American country the first in the world to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis.

Legislation to legalize was first approved in 2013, and since then Uruguayans have been allowed to grow their own cannabis and consume it in clubs. The third part of the equation, though—setting up a retail distribution system—proved to be trickier, and there have been several delays in the four years since voting commenced.

Prices will be set at $1.30 a gram.

There will be 16 pharmacies where those 18 and older and a legal or natural Uruguayan citizen or permanent resident, can purchase cannabis legally, according to the Irish publication The Journal. Would-be customers will have to register as a purchaser of marijuana in pharmacies, as roughly 4,700 people have done so far.

Security Fears Are Holding Back Uruguay’s Cannabis Rollout

Uruguayans will be able to purchase up to 10 grams of cannabis per week. Prices will be set at $1.30 a gram.

The cannabis on offer, though, will be a little different than what Americans are used to, with only two strains initially available to customers. One is an indica, called Alpha I, with 2% THC and 7% CBD; the other is a sativa, Beta I, with 2% THC and 6% CBD.

Uruguay’s First Official Cannabis Strains Are Coming Soon

According to reports, some have complained about the low potency of the cannabis. Others have concerns with the overall quality of the product. To date, only two companies are authorized to produce cannabis for the pharmacies.

The facilities are reportedly under military protection, with no public access, as government officials have been adamant that there will be no cannabis tourism.