By Bryce Pardo for El Daily Post. Two years into the legalization process, Uruguayan authorities have finally granted licenses for commercial production of marijuana. Pot users will get to buy their substance of choice in pharmacies next year. However, questions remain. For instance, there is a risk of severe shortages in the early days of the market.
After more than a year of missed deadlines, Uruguay’s cannabis authority, IRCCA, has finally released more details on the retail sale of marijuana in pharmacies. Many were anticipating this news long ago. Several key points have been cited from the press release and other news stories:
- Two companies have been granted five-year licenses to grow up to four tons a year to supply the pharmacy retail market.
- The initial cultivation will be on 5 hectares of government property, under government surveillance. Apart from some greenhouses, it’s more than likely these will be outdoor operations.
- The government wants to eventually cultivate enough cannabis for the entire market — 22 metric tons.
- Strains will be selected by IRCCA to ensure that products are of known purity and cannabinoid profile.
- Wholesale cannabis is exempt from taxes, and prices are set by IRCCA.
- There are an estimated 150,000 cannabis users, 20 percent of which use daily/near-daily.
- Pharmacies that agree to sell cannabis will likely supply regular or casual usersas heavy users either grow at home or have joined clubs.
- According to regulators, commercial cannabis will be available in pharmacies in 8 months and will cost $1.20 dollars a gram.