Uruguay is preparing to sell legal marijuana in pharmacies all across the country, but there are some concerns among those overseeing recreational cannabis production that some of the restrictions and cost could prevent the potential of the marketplace from being realized. It is for that reason that the country’s largest cannabis cultivator is reportedly getting involved with the production of industrial hemp.
Reports indicate that International Cannabis Corp, one of Uruguay’s two licensed pot producers, is preparing to get into the business of slinging industrial hemp because the company believes it will generate more revenue through this sector than from the sale of cannabis.
The company’s CEO, Guillermo Delmonte, told Bloomberg News that since “recreational cannabis is regulated by the government,” which puts restrictions on the amount of weed regulators will allow for distribution, there are more profits to be made in the $1 billion hemp market because there are no limits on how much can be grown “to meet demand.”
The company is currently negotiating contracts with a number of European and South American nations to supply them with hemp-based materials needed for medical products.
Once International Cannabis is finished stocking Uruguay’s pharmacies with recreational cannabis, the company is expected to roll out its hemp production program, which Delmonte said would likely happen sometime in September. An email from the Agriculture Ministry reveals that the government has given four companies, including one with ties to investors in the United States, permission to work in industrial hemp.
“Uruguay still has an opportunity to develop an industry in areas that aren’t as prickly as recreational pot,” said Gaston Rodriguez Lepera, an investment consultant. The nation is primed for “more socially acceptable ventures like medicinal marijuana or industrial hemp.”
Uruguay is just weeks away from launching legal marijuana sales. The pilot program will allow residents to purchase up to 40 grams of weed per month. International Cannabis and another company called Simbiosys are the only two producers involved with the government’s cannabis crop.
Together, they will produce as much as two tons of pot that will be sold to dispensaries at a wholesale rate of $0.90 per gram.