Uruguay, under the leadership of President Jose Mujica, was the first country to legalize cannabis for adult use, shaking up the global marijuana law reform debate. Residents are already able to apply to grow their own cannabis while regulated sales will likely begin in 2015. More than 20 companies have applied to be suppliers of Uruguay's future cannabis market. Per Tico Times:
A total of 22 companies have submitted bids to supply marijuana under a law making Uruguay the first country to legalize production, sale and distribution of the drug, the government said Thursday.
Eight of them are Uruguayan, 10 are foreign and the rest are joint ventures, said the newly created Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis.
Their product will be sold in pharmacies under the groundbreaking law approved in December.
The world will be watching Uruguay to see how this all unfolds. Licensed and regulated cannabis sales are occurring in Colorado and Washington in the United States. However, Uruguay will be much different in that this is a nationally taxed and regulated system. If Uruguay succeeds, many other countries will no doubt follow suit and legalize and regulate cannabis sales in their own countries. Naturally, countries will move towards a policy that creates jobs, generates revenue and better prioritizes law enforcement resources. Hopefully, Uruguay exceeds all expectations and the next great industry can be embraced worldwide.
Uruguayan activist and cultivator, Laura Blanco, will provide insight into how Uruguay moved toward a sane cannabis policy and where the industry is headed in her home country at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference on September 13th & 14th. Get your tickets soon before prices go up and they sell out!