Uruguay’s three-year process of legalising recreational cannabis consumption reached its final stage on Thursday, when the government said it would authorise pharmacies to begin selling the substance as of July.
Sixteen pharmacies have registered with the government of the tiny South American country to be able to sell marijuana for recreational purposes. That number is expected to increase to 30 in the coming months, said Juan Roballo, head of the National Drug Board.
Uruguay became a global pioneer when it legalised the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana in late 2013. But the roll-out has been slow, and the authorisation for pharmacies to sell cannabis – initially expected by the end of 2014 – has been postponed several times.
The government hopes the formalisation process will “guarantee the quality and the purity of the product” citizens consume, Roballo said. The cannabis sold in pharmacies will be grown by producers licensed by the state.
“This is not to promote it, but to compete with the informal market,” he added. [Read more at the Independent]