MONTEVIDEO – The sale of recreational marijuana at select pharmacies in Uruguay began Wednesday under a pioneering 2013 law that makes the South American country the world’s first nation to legalize the production, distribution and sale of the weed.
Sixteen pharmacies signed up to sell marijuana in 11 of the 19 provinces in Uruguay, a country with less than 3.5 million people and more than 1,000 pharmacies.
The government expects a growing number of pharmacies to sign up for the program.
The 4,959 people who have registered so far to buy marijuana at the pharmacies are now able to acquire 5-gram (0.17-ounce) packs of the substance priced at 187.04 pesos (about $6.50).
In the future, buyers will be allowed to buy packs of up to 10 grams (0.35 ounces).
Each registered buyer may obtain up to 10 grams per week and up to 40 grams per month, and users can choose between variants dubbed Alfa I and Beta I.
When they buy marijuana, consumers do not have to reveal any personal information and can obtain the weed through a fingerprint-recognition system.
In addition to purchasing pot at pharmacies, the law signed by former President Jose Mujica gives users the option of applying for licenses to grow limited amounts of marijuana as individuals or members of “cannabis clubs.”
Legal marijuana sold in Uruguayan pharmacies comes from seeds imported by two companies – Symbiosis and International Cannabis Corp. – which were awarded contracts by the government.