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Uruguay to Sell 3 Types of Marijuana in Drug Stores


Sunday 06 Dec 2015

Marijuana sales in licensed pharmacies across Uruguay will begin in June 2016, with the price expected to be around US$1.20 per gram.

Registered Uruguayan consumers will be able to access three types of marijuana in drug stores with high, medium and low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol and correspondent levels of cannabidiol, said Milton Romani, president of the country's national drug office, on Saturday.

“There are three options, depending on the effect of each one ... (we are) trying to recommend the lowest level for beginners,” Romani told Reuters at the 2015 Expocannabis taking place in the country’s capital Montevideo.

Authorities were offered various genetically modified plants with controllable effects within the framework of the recent decriminalization of marijuana aimed at eradicating the illegal commercialization both foreign and domestic.

Romani said the Uruguayan government was working with the private sector over the plant's production and exportation, especially toward the United States and Europe.

“We want to do things right, no matter how long it takes. On this issue we need to be careful because one stumble can ruin a unique experience in the world,” the official added.

Marijuana sales in licensed pharmacies across Uruguay will begin in June 2016. The price is expected to be around US$1.20 per gram.

Augusto Vitale, the president of the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis or IRCCA explained that authorities decided to maintain the price low in order to discourage the illegal sale of marijuana.

The law, passed by former President Jose Mujica, allows for personal possession of up to 40 grams per person. It was scheduled to have been in place already, but Mujica’s successor, Tabare Vazquez, delayed the implementation of the law.

RELATED: Uruguay Slams Big Tobacco, Defends Marijuana Policy

President Vazquez, a medical doctor, originally expressed skepticism regarding the marijuana law, saying in 2012, "Marijuana causes as much damage, or even more, than tobacco."

However, Vazquez has since moderated his view, and in March, he announced he was delaying the law, while his chief drug regulator explained the postponement was to ensure the success of the program.

Supporters of legalization argue that state control over production and distribution of marijuana can be an effective strategy, including cut drug cartel profits.

The law was passed in 2013 and requires users to register with the government while limiting their consumption to one ounce per month.

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