MONTEVIDEO (AP) – Uruguayan authorities have discovered that a certain amount of marijuana grown legally under the market that the country established in 2013 is selling irregularly.
Diego Olivera, director of the Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis and president of the Board of Drugs, confirmed on Monday to The Asocciated Press that marijuana buds have been found in illegal points of sale of drugs. The heart is the part that concentrates the greatest psychoactive
power of the cannabis plant. The illegal market, which is mainly supplied with marijuana from Paraguay, had never sold buds but a pressing that includes flowers but also other parts of the plant.
“It is not possible to define that there is a systematic detour of buds to the illegal market. These are specific episodes on which the institutions were working so that the regulation is not distorted, “said Olivera.
A number close to the dozen of cannabis clubs and home growers have been sanctioned with the withdrawal of their license to plant the herb to sell all or part of their harvest outside the established market, he added.
Instead, the official ruled out that any of the two companies that grow marijuana that sells in pharmacies is involved in the appearance of the buds on the black market.
He admitted that some cases of workers who tried to take cannabis secretly have been detected, but they were “amounts that did not allow more than a personal consumption”.
Only one of these cases took public status, but Olivera reported that there were some others.
The news of the illegal sale of legal marijuana took public status with a report published Monday by the newspaper El Observador.
At the moment there are 8,085 people qualified to grow up to six marijuana plants for their personal use and 78 cannabis clubs that can have up to 45 members and 99 plants.
In addition, there are 20,905 people registered to buy the drug in a dozen licensed pharmacies, in a network that does not cover all the country’s territory.
The Uruguayan Parliament sanctioned on December 10, 2013 a law that transformed Uruguay into the first country in the world to have a legal market for this herb from its sowing until its sale to the public.
The law enabled personal cultivation, cannabis clubs and sale in pharmacies, but this last part of the project was only enabled in 2017. To join any of these options you must be over 18 years old, a Uruguayan citizen or legal resident in the country and register in a registry.
In 2015, the then general secretary of the National Drug Board, Milton Romani, had denounced that there was a “gray market” of marijuana, fed by authorized growers who, contrary to the norms, sold the marijuana they harvested, taking advantage of the fact that the Pharmacies had not yet begun.
Olivera said that he is processing the data in order to have a clearer and more accurate picture of how much marijuana from the legal market happened to the
illegal market and in what way.
The Associated Press
By LEONARDO HABERKORN