Officials in Uruguay are moving retail cannabis sales from pharmacies to shops that will sell the products for cash, the Panama Post reports. The move comes less than a month after banks said they had to close accounts of pharmacies participating in the state-run program due to international anti-money laundering laws.
Three of the 16 pharmacies had stopped selling cannabis due to the banking issue.
According to an Associated Press report, Uruguayan law requires employees and salaries be paid by direct deposit, which makes it tough to run a cash-only business in the South American nation. Uruguayan officials had said they did not anticipate the banking issue when they legalized cannabis nationwide in 2013.
Juan Andrés Roballo, assistant secretary of the presidency, called the move a “provisional solution” to the banking and cannabis sales problem.
“This is an exceptional situation that enables exceptional solutions,” he said in the report. “The best, and definitive (solution), would be a change in legislation (in the United States).”
The Post indicates that there are currently around 13,500 people registered with the state to purchase cannabis products; in early August the number hovered around 11,500. Most of the participating pharmacies report that their 2-kilogram supplies are often gone quickly after it goes on sale.