The national flag of Uruguay flying on a windy, cloudless day.

Gabriel Millos

Uruguay’s Legal Cannabis Program has 16,000 Registered Buyers

Uruguayans registered to buy legal cannabis has increased more than three-fold since July from 5,000 to 16,000, according to an Independent report based on figures from the Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis. The government has also raised the allowable THC content from 2 to 9 percent. In August, the government indicated more than 11,500 citizens had registered with the program.

Despite the liberal cannabis policy in the nation, there is still no medical cannabis system in Uruguay and tourists are not permitted to buy cannabis products.

In September, officials moved sales from pharmacies to shops and to a cash-only system after banks closed the accounts of pharmacies participating in the program due to international anti-money laundering laws. Jorge Polgar, president of the state-run Banco Republica, indicated at the time that keeping the accounts open would prevent the institution “from carrying out any kind of operation with an international counterpart” and “cause [the bank] and its clients to be financially isolated.”

There are still 11 Uruguayan provinces that do not sell cannabis; however, according to the Independent, the government plans on opening kiosks in those areas which will sell 5-gram packages of cannabis. The state has set the price of cannabis – sold in two varieties known as Alpha I and Beta I – at $1.30 per gram.

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