Uruguay is setting the precedent for the world’s first full federal legalization, a responsibility the country is not taking lightly. In an attempt to battle the war on drugs, not only did Uruguay legalize cannabis, it’s planning to sell strains at licensed pharmacies across the country for the low price of just $1.20 USD per gram, an action aimed squarely at undercutting the influence of the black market.
Despite a few hiccups on the two-year-long path, the Uruguayan government is now well on its way to implementing a highly-regulated recreational market. So far the country has selected the companies that will be officially licensed to produce cannabis for pharmacies to sell to the general public. Symbiosis and Iccorp will be the official cultivators of the new Uruguayan strains, although so far there are 3,200 registered people who can grow up to six plants for personal use as well.
Speaking of strains, this week Uruguay announced the types of cannabis that will be available for sale to the public. Although officials declined to specify the actual strain name (much to Leafly’s chagrin), they have provided a clue about the first official Uruguayan cannabis strains.
There will be three types of cannabis with varying levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The varieties will start at a lower dose that’s recommended for beginners, and other strain types will slowly increase in potency.
The government has also taken great pains to ensure that these strains do not end up on the black market. Plants will come from genetically-distinct, traceable grows in an effort to keep the cannabis within the borders of Uruguay and out of the hands of drug cartels or other nefarious entities.
Uruguay is currently exploring the possibility of exporting medical marijuana to the United States or Europe, marking a significant difference between its program and other recreationally legal markets. While it may seem controversial, this drastic change may just weaken the local drug cartels enough for authorities to gain the upper hand in the war against drugs.