In 2014, Uruguay became the world’s first country to legalize adult-use cannabis: Citizens may access it through pharmacies, membership in clubs, or self-cultivation.
The most common way that Uruguayans access legal cannabis is through pharmacies, and the number of such customers has been rising — now 77% of registrants patronize pharmacies, up from 68% in April 2018; in the past 11 months, pharmacy registrations have increased 50%.
Since the adult-use program’s inception, Uruguay’s pharmacies have faced supply challenges due whether to limits regulating the volume of cannabis afforded to pharmacies, or complications along the supply chain.
Only two companies—ICC and Symbiosis—are permitted to cultivate psychoactive cannabis for the nation’s 17 licensed pharmacies.
To address increased demand for pharmacy-supplied cannabis, Uruguay’s regulating agency, the IRCCA, began accepting applications for additional psychoactive cannabis cultivators; it will grant up to 5 new licenses to applicants whether domestic or foreign.