Photo by Taylor Kent
Uruguay made history by becoming the first country in the world to legalize cannabis when President Jose Mujica signed the bill into law on Christmas Eve of 2013. Although the program has been very slow at getting on its feet, things are starting to creep along. Since opening submissions botanists and cultivators a few months ago, the Institute for Control and Regulation of Cannabis (IRCCA) has received 1,200 applications from residents interested in growing cannabis.
Last year the IRCCA began accepting applications for cannabis clubs. To date, about 500 clubs have registered with the department with each club allowed to have up to 45 members and cultivate up to 99 cannabis plants.
One small problem, though: no pharmacies have been licensed to sell marijuana yet. As mentioned, the process is slowly but surely creeping along. The country has taken strides in the right direction by allowing workers to work stoned to hosting a successful cannabis expo that attracted 6,000 attendees.
President-elect Tabare Vazquez will be sworn in this year in March and has made promises to carry out the the law authorizing the cultivation and sale of marijuana through pharmacies. It seems, though, that there is a chance that he may want to fine-tune some of the policies.
“We will abide by this law and we will have a very strict monitoring to see how it works,” he said. “If the need arises to amend the law, we will send a bill to parliament to be debated.”
Julio Calzada, head of the National Drugs Board, is confident that the process will move forward.
“Once the companies winning this bidding process start their operations, we will focus on the distribution system for pharmacies,” he said.
Under the current regulations, only adults 18 years or older who are registered with the department are eligible to purchase cannabis. Registered users can buy up to 40 grams each month for personal use and will also be able to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use.
Do you grow cannabis? Would you apply to grow weed for your government? Let us know in the comments.