The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because
President Jose Mujica has not yet decreed the new regulations,
said the government will auction up to six licenses to produce
Mujica is expected to sign off on the rules in coming days. He
proposed the landmark legalization law to undermine drug
Uruguay, the first country to legalize the growing and sale of
marijuana, is being closely watched by other countries debating
Cannabis consumers will have to register with the government on
a confidential list before making purchases from authorized
pharmacies, according to the law passed by Congress in December.
The pharmacies can only be supplied by private growers
authorized by the government, which will oversee quality and
choose varieties. Individuals will also be able to grow up to
six plants for personal use.
Uruguay has said it is also considering having marijuana grown
on a plot of land controlled by the military to avoid illegal
trafficking of the crop.
Ten to 20 hectares (25 to 49 acres) of marijuana would likely be
enough to meet domestic demand, according to preliminary
Authorities have suggested setting the price for marijuana at $1
per ounce to compete with Paraguayan cannabis that has flooded
the black market.
About 20,000 of the 3.3 million people who live in Uruguay are
estimated to use marijuana every day.
The majority of Uruguayans oppose the new law, but do not want
it repealed until its impacts can be assessed, according to a
poll by the consulting firm Cifra published on Thursday.
(Reporting by Malena Castaldi; writing by Mitra Taj;
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