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Uruguay, pioneer in cannabis cultivation and exports
The country is a forerunner in the legislation of the plant for its various uses and since 2013 has been regulating production, marketing and consumption.
Uruguay operates an important cannabis export flow, in 2020 it placed approximately 10 tons of flowers and between January and July 2021 the growth was maintained with seven tons of flowers exported.
The licenses to operate in the sector, granted and regulated by the Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA) of Uruguay, are divided into two main groups, for recreational and medicinal use. These, in turn, evolve to other uses and activities such as food. Uruguay is the only country, together with Canada, that has a national regulation that covers both uses, which greatly favors its exportation, since many countries have authorization to consume, but not to cultivate.
At the pharmaceutical level, there are three lines of medicines registered in Uruguay with different presentations, based on CBD and sold under professional prescription with additional pharmacovigilance.
In terms of employment generation, according to data from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS) and the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP), the personnel directly employed by the sector totaled just over 1,070 workers in 2020, a workforce that increases considerably during the harvest season (transplanting and harvesting).
The average of the different sources allows estimating a total market of US$ 94 billion by 2024, while, for the medicinal sector, the estimated market size is US$ 35 billion by 2024.
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