April 7 (UPI) -- Uruguay's government said the legal sale of cannabis in pharmacies will begin in July after a registration period, which will make the South American country the first in the world to legally sell recreational marijuana.
Uruguay's Presidency of the Republic said the registration for users to access cannabis in pharmacies begins on May 2. Those registered will have access to buy up to 40 grams of cannabis a month. Uruguay legalized the cannabis trade in 2013 but needed to establish a regulatory agency.
"Uruguay complies, in this way, with the public policy of regulating alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, in accordance with national and international exchange, which gives coherence to the regulatory framework," Juan Andrés Roballo, National Drug Board president and presidential aide, said during a press conference.
The government said all stages of the cannabis market regulation will be monitored by the National Drug Board. Roballo said the government's regulation will attempt to prevent and address "problematic consumption" of cannabis, adding that the government has "expectations and hopes" that cannabis regulation will decrease money laundering and drug trafficking.
More than 30 pharmacies have signed or are close to signing a contract with the government to sell the cannabis. At first, the price of cannabis will be $1.30 per gram -- of which 0.90 cents will go to the company that produced the cannabis, and the remainder will be given to the pharmacy and the Cannabis Regulation and Control Institute for prevention programs.