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Exclusive: Uruguay presidential candidate would repeal marijuana law

Uruguayan National Party presidential candidate Luis Lacalle Pou gestures during a meeting with businessmen in Montevideo October 8, 2014.

Uruguay's leading opposition candidate said on Wednesday he would try to repeal much of the country's ground-breaking marijuana law, which permits the commercial production and sale of the drug, if he wins Sunday's presidential election.

The South American country became the world's first to allow the cultivation, distribution and use of marijuana, but almost two in three Uruguayans oppose the pioneering experiment that aims to wrest control of the trade from drug gangs.


Marijuana News Update: Uruguay Struggles to Implement Cannabis Legalization

Uruguay has launched the first-of-its kind legalization of marijuana, allowing residents who want to grow their own to sign up to do so.

But the new law, which comes with strict guidelines when it enacted in May, received a lukewarm welcome.

Juan Vaz, a well-known cannabis activist, told AP it was because of the years of illegal growing.

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"There are some people who might feel persecuted," Vaz said. "For many years, they grew plants in secret and it's hard to break from that way of thinking."

Under the new law, citizens and legal residents older than 18 can grow up to six female plants and annually harvest up to 480 grams.

Uruguay is the first country in the world to regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana, AP reported.


Official: Bidders compete for Uruguay pot business

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Uruguay's new market for legalized marijuana has attracted at least 20 companies bidding for the right to supply pot to the country's pharmacies, a government official said Thursday.

An official from President Jose Mujica's office says cannabis regulators will review and pick the best businesses from the competitors that passed initial scrutiny. It's not clear how many may eventually be granted licenses in the South American country.

The government official did not specify an exact number of bidders, saying only it was "more than 20 and less than 25." He spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.


Uruguay Looking for Cannabis Growers for Legal Marijuana Program

When the United States government is pathetically failing in attempts to justify its decades old war on cannabis, a country to the south is hard at work on nationalized legalization. In fact, the government in Uruguay is looking to sign up a few good pot growers!

Although it now appears that rollout of the legal Uruguay cannabis program won’t happen until 2015, they are still marching toward social justice at a much faster pace than the United States. When the delay in the establishment of the legal cannabis market in Uruguay was announced, the political prohibition pushers began predicting that the program was about to go “up in smoke,” but it looks like they were wrong.


Uruguay calls out to cannabis growers to join govt's pot project

Published time: August 02, 2014 11:53
Edited time: August 02, 2014 19:27

AFP Photo / Miguel Rojo

Uruguay’s authorities have called on private pot growers to send in applications if they want to farm the plant in a government-run field as the country is taking a step closer to selling recreational drug.

The tender was issued from the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA), a newly formed governmental body which oversees the marketplace for marijuana. Open until August 18, it seeks up to five cannabis farmers who will get a license allowing them to grow the plant at a government-run field.


Uruguay's first marijuana club seeks recognition

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — A group has taken steps to become the first officially recognized marijuana-growing club in Uruguay, where lawmakers have made their country the world's first national marketplace for legal pot.

The Association of Cannabis Studies of Uruguay began the process by registering with the Education and Culture Ministry, Drug Control Chief Julio Calzada said Tuesday.

The club will have 40 members and will be headed by Laura Blanco. She told the Uruguayan newspaper El Pais that members will pay $300 each to join, and a monthly fee of up to $65. Some of the members will use the marijuana to treat medical conditions.


Anti-marijuana candidate loses in Uruguay primary

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — The biggest threat to Uruguay's new legal marijuana market has lost his party's presidential primary.

Sen. Jorge Larranaga had been a favorite to represent the National Party this year and strongly opposes the new law, which puts the ruling Broad Front government at the center of a regulated marijuana industry. The government's aim is to defeat organized crime by producing cheaper, better, legal weed and selling it in pharmacies to registered adults.

"We are going to overturn this law that legalized marijuana growing. Nobody plant anything! Don't plant anything because we're going to knock it down!" Larranaga had said ahead of Sunday's primary.


Uruguay Eyes Canadian Marijuana

On April 1, Uruguay's legalisation of marijuana, the very first among the world, takes effect. To prepare for the influx of demand, the small South American nation has taken its sights on Canada to fill in the gaps.

Ratified in December 2013, Uruguay legalised the growing and selling of marijuana as a source of revenue. Uruguay residents may grow six marijuana plants in their homes per year, or as much as 480 grams (about 17 ounces). Smoking clubs with 15 to 45 members can grow up to 99 plants per year.

However, cultivation processes and operations take time way beyond the four months since the bill was thumbed up by the Uruguay Senate.


More than 100 bidders want to grow Uruguay pot

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — More than 100 businesses are hoping to compete for the right to grow the marijuana that Uruguay's government will sell in its newly legalized pot market, the country's drug czar said Thursday.

Drug secretary Julio Calzada said that the government can satisfy demand in the legal pot market it's launching this year by licensing two to six growers to cultivate the plants on plots no larger than 5 acres (2 hectares).

Successful bidders will have to identify everyone involved in their businesses, document the source of their financing and be cleared by Uruguay's anti-money laundering agency. These controls are needed to keep out organized crime, Calzada said.


Uruguay leader calls Colorado pot law 'a fiction'

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — President Jose Mujica says Uruguay's legal marijuana market will be much better than the system in Colorado, which doesn't track the drug after sale. And he says the medical marijuana laws many U.S. states have adopted are based on "hypocrisy" because they enable people to fake illnesses to get prescription weed.

Mujica also predicted Friday that Uruguay's system will be much tougher on drug users, and more effective in combatting illegal drug trafficking.

Mujica, who will visit President Barack Obama in the White House on May 12, says his government will license and regulate the entire marijuana business, enforcing pot possession rules as well as limits on production and sales so that violators get punished and addicts get help.


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