By By Geoff Ramsey and John Walsh by WOLA. Uruguayan authorities made a major announcement yesterday, laying out plans for the biggest step yet in the country’s efforts to regulate all levels of the cannabis market: cultivation for commercial sales. Officials revealed that two companies have been selected to grow cannabis for sale in pharmacies. The first commercial offerings will likely be available to registered consumers in about 8 months, or mid-year 2016.
In a press conference yesterday, Juan Andrés Roballo, presidential undersecretary and head of Uruguay’s National Drug Board (Junta Nacional de Drogas, JND) and Augusto Vitale, president of the Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis (Instituto de Regulacion y Control de Cannabis, IRCCA, created by Law 19172 in 2013), shed light on some of the most important pending questions around Uruguay’s cannabis policy innovation. Among other things, they revealed that after a thorough vetting process of the more than twenty companies that submitted proposals in reply to IRCCA’s August 2014 request for bids for commercial cultivation, two companies of mixed Uruguayan and foreign ownership were selected.
For more on the announcement, and on what this means for Uruguay’s reform effort, see the questions and answers below: