Uruguay opens bidding for marijuana plots
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Uruguay, the first country to fully legalize the production, sale and distribution of marijuana, called for bids Friday, August 1, from private growers who want to farm cannabis in a public field.
Open until August 18, the tender from the newly launched Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA) seeks up to five growers who will get a license to farm marijuana plants at a government-run field and sell it to consumers.
The growers will be allowed to produce and distribute a total of one to two tons of cannabis per year, to be sold at pharmacies for about $1 a gram ($28 an ounce).
The plots up for bidding are all on a single field in the southwest of the country whose perimeter will be guarded 24 hours a day, officials said.
Uruguay passed a law allowing the legal cultivation and sale of cannabis in December last year, creating a state-regulated market that controls the production chain from seed imports to final sales.
Under the law, users who sign up for a national registry – which has yet to be set up – will be able to grow marijuana themselves, buy it at a pharmacy or join a distribution club, consuming a maximum of 40 grams a month. (READ: Marijuana in Uruguay to cost less than a dollar per gram)
Regulated sales are expected to start early next year. (READ: Legal marijuana sales in Uruguay delayed until 2015 – president)
The government estimates that 150,000 of the country's 3.3 million people will sign up for the program, with annual production of around 20 tons of cannabis. – Rappler.com