Uruguay is the first country in the world to create an open national marijuana market. Former Uruguayan president Jose Mijica made legalization a priority of his presidency and was met with widespread approval by citizens and politicians alike.
State Sanctioned Cannabis
Currently, there are 2 licensed cultivators and providers of the state-sanctioned marijuana that will be available to registered patients sometime in 2016. The Uruguayan government has gone to great lengths to create 3 unique strains of marijuana that these licensed cultivators will produce.
The philosophy of the government is that for marijuana legalization to work, the government must control the quality and potency of the products that are offered in pharmacies. The focus of Uruguay’s marijuana legalization is clearly on the medical side.
Uruguay’s National Drug Board President Milton Romani said about the 3 state-provided strains of marijuana
“Each variety will have different levels of the mind-altering compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), believed to soften the impacts of THC.”
“There will be three options with indications about the effects of each that point beginners toward starting with the lowest level of THC.”
Romani declined to announce the specific names of each of the 3 strains, but based on his comments about levels of THC and CBD, we can assume that the strains will represent a metric of low-medium-high potencies.
Uruguay is adamantly protecting the names and specific genetics of its proposed marijuana strains. There is concern that if the strains were to get into the wrong hands, black market sales of the strains would overtake the state approved system for sales. In order to monitor black market activity, Uruguayan authorities say that the genetics are traceable and genetically distinct. This sounds good on paper, but the reality is it is nearly impossible to prevent savvy individuals from cloning these genetics for their own use.
Registration to Cultivate
So far, 3,200 people have registered for permission to grow up to 6 of the state approved strains in their homes. However if citizens chose to forgo their right to cultivate cannabis they can head to pharmacies that will be selling grams of weed for around $1. Uruguayans will be allowed to purchase up to 40 grams per month.
There are rumors in Uruguay about the potential to eventually export their unique strains of medical marijuana to countries around the world. This would be an astounding precedent if successful. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently vowed to fully legalize marijuana in Canada, but some critics suggest that countries that do not support legalization could potentially place trade embargoes against Canada as a form of protest. At the very least, Canada and Uruguay could enter into a lucrative marijuana trade relationship that could encourage other nations to follow suit.
As soon as Romani announces the names and specifics of the strains, we will let you know.
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