Starting this month, adult use cannabis consumers in Uruguay will experience another increase in cost, an uptick that takes place amid shortages in domestic supply and efforts to propel exports for medical use.
In an interview with local media, National Drug Board Secretary, Diego Olivera, attributed the latest price “adjustment” to the “incorporation of technology [to guarantee] the safety of the product.” The increase, Olivera added, is determined by the country’s Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA), in agreement with its approved production companies, as well as the seventeen pharmacies that sell the product.
Both approved companies, ICC and Symbiosis, are of mixed local and foreign ownership. In fact, ICC is now a subsidiary of Aurora, one of the largest cannabis companies in the world.
In Uruguay, which legalized adult use in 2013, the rising cost of adult use products is part of an ongoing trend that has manifested itself over the past two years. In 2017, a five-gram packet of dried flower cost $187 Uruguayan pesos (about $5 USD). Then, in 2018, the price rose to $213 pesos (about $6 USD), and, in February 2019, to $220 pesos (about $6.24). As of August 2019, that packet costs $250 Uruguayan pesos (about $7 USD).
According to IRCCA, to date, 36,876 Uruguayans are authorized to purchase cannabis in the country’s pharmacies, a number that has steadily increased since May 2017, when there were less than 5,000 registered users.