Uruguayan President José Mujica
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El Observador reports that Uruguayan president José Mujica signed on Tuesday a series of rules regulating the sale and cultivation of marijuana, putting into effect a bill passed in December which made growing and consuming the drug legal for registered users across the country. According to a government group created by Mujica to analyze the topic, the number of Uruguayans who cultivate marijuana for personal consumption has leaped since the law’s passage, from 10,000 to over 30,000. But the new rules address the ways the government will be involved with the market.

For the first time, the state will have a stake in cultivation, with 10 hectares (about 25 acres) of military sites dedicated to growing five strains of what the government expects will make up about 25 percent of the total amount of marijuana consumed in the country. Pharmacies will be allowed -- but not required -- to sell it, for just under a dollar per gram, when six licensed companies begin selling it to them this upcoming November. You won’t see it in store windows, as distribution sites will be barred from exhibiting it to the public. In the strongest strain, the active ingredient (THCl) will constitute about 15 percent of its chemical makeup, according to Aristegui Noticias.

Consumers will be required to register with the state using a government ID showing proof of residency; noncitizens will not be permitted to do so. In-store purchases -- which won’t be able to exceed 10 grams per week -- will be tracked by a fingerprint identification system. Mujica and the Broad Front coalition he leads has pushed ahead with the law despite its unpopularity with the majority of the public, and on Wednesday he struck back at opposition lawmakers who criticized it, calling their position “dogmatic” and “sectarian” and lauding the bill as an “experiment,” which could prove a tremendous benefit to the rest of the world.

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