Uruguay’s Pharmacies Ran Out of Government Marijuana within Hours on First Day of Legal Sales
EspañolUruguay became the first country in the world to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use in pharmacies. But on the very first day it became available in stores, the product ran out in all pharmacies and the registration system collapsed.
The demand on the first day of sales — this Wednesday, July 19 — in addition to problems with the fingerprinting system, created long lines at the 16 pharmacies selling the marijuana.
“I knew it would take a while because everyone was going to want it on the first day. I’m very excited about this situation,” said Lucila, 19, who waited almost two hours in line to buy the product. “Many people fought for this, this is something people marched for, to stop seeing marijuana as a taboo. It can be used medicinally and can be regularized.”
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“The sales are barbaric … As soon as we unlock, we are out of the product,” said Esteban Riveira, owner of the Pitágoras pharmacy at the corner of Alberto Zum Felde and Pitágoras in Malvín Norte.
The location received 50 packages to sell on the first day, and within a couple of hours they had only 16 left.
Sebastián Scaffo, owner of the Tapié pharmacy in Pueblo Viejo, explained that the pharmacy has a sales cap of two kilograms, which is equivalent to 400 packages. Each person can buy a maximum of two packages.
As of Tuesday, July 19, 4,959 recreational marijuana purchasers have been registered, as well as 6,948 growers and 63 membership clubs — a figure that is still far from the 60,000 consumers the government reportedly plans to reach with this initiative.
The five-gram package costs US $6.53, and the gram of non-medical marijuana costs US $1.30. It’s exempt from all taxes, which also makes it more attractive for consumers.