Currently, 10 pharmacies across Uruguay are legally allowed to dispense medicinal cannabis to Uruguayan citizens over 18-years of age. Those who are registered in the program are able to receive up to 40 grams per month of the medicine, which was described in a recent article from VIA News. On December 19th Medicplast CBD cannabis oil was distributed to local dispensaries.
This product has been registered with the Uruguayan Ministry of Health as Epifractan 2%, because it contains 2% cannabidiol (CBD). It is the first CBD medicine manufactured in Uruguay. Though this is the first cannabis-derived medicine legalized by a country, like any other medicine, it and can only be prescribed by a doctor.
To create Epifractan, Medicplast imports raw cannabis flowers from Switzerland where minor possession was decriminalized in 2012. Importing cannabis for the purpose of manufacturing does raise the cost of the end product. In comparison, CBD product that costs $100 in Canada would be ~$250 for a patient in Uruguay.
In related news, Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez recently announced that they would be breaking ground on a new cannabis extract facility, an ICC Lab. The integrated cannabis project will be constructed in the Science Park in the city of Canelones and the build is scheduled to be completed in April 2018. It was funded by a US$10M investment made by ICC International Cannabis Corp. which is a publicly traded (TSX) Canadian company focused on providing a steady supply of CBD extract in Uruguay.
There are currently less than five South American countries who have legalized cannabis. When Canada goes completely online with legal cannabis this Summer it is probable that we can expect even more expansion in this area.
Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she put down her budtender hat and dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the cannabis plant fuel the passion in her posts.