By Steve Elliott
A year after marijuana legalization in Uruguay, the small South American country of 3.3 million people has registered 1,200 cannabis growers, the head of the National Drugs Board, Julio Calzada, announced on Monday.
"It is encouraging to have 1,200 growers after three or four months since the law came into effect," Calzada said, adding that implementation is progressing "on a clear path, carefully and under control," reports EFE.
"Roughly 500" cannabis clubs have registered with the Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis, Calzada estimated. Each club can have up to 45 members and can cultivate up to 99 marijuana plants.
Calzada believes most marijuana users won't grow their own, and won't become club members. Instead he believes they'll just buy their weed through authorized pharmacies, which is still in the works.
President-Elect Tabare Vazquez, who will take office in March, said his government will abide by the law allowing cultivation and sale of marijuana through pharmacies, but left open the possibility of introducing changes in the regulations.
"We will abide by this law and we will have a very strict monitoring to see how it works," said Vazquez, a medical doctor. "If the need arises to amend the law, we will send a bill to parliament to be debated."