Uruguay Will Set Up Cash-Only Cannabis Dispensaries

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On Wednesday, the Uruguayan government announced it will be opening dedicated adult-use marijuana dispensaries that will only be taking cash for purchases.

In July, 16 pharmacies started selling legal cannabis in the South American nation. The initiative led to a banking nightmare when financial institutions in Uruguay threatened to cancel the accounts of businesses participating in the sale of cannabis.

The banking scare came after letters from American financial firms arrived. These documents stated that US banks would stop doing business with Uruguay because Uruguayan institutions were helping in the sale of a controlled substance.

Since that time, three or more pharmacies have decided not to sell marijuana due to the warnings.

To address this problem, Uruguay will set up cash-only pot shops for those who want to partake in legal adult-use cannabis.

While this solution appears elegantly simple, it will bring some minor challenges.

Uruguay law prohibits businesses from paying their employees by cash or check. Payment is required by direct deposit, so these dispensaries will need an exemption to pay their employees without the use of any banking services. It will also force consumers to visit an ATM or bank before going to buy cannabis, which could act as a deterrent for sales.

Uruguay has 13,500 registered marijuana consumers, and the number is constantly increasing. The South American nation has long had a progressive view of cannabis, which made them the first country in the world to legalize the plant in July of 2013.

About Author

Jonathan Hiltz has been a journalist, a TV producer and marijuana advocate for over sixteen years. He has a wife, two young children and lives in the Toronto area.

1 Comment

  1. Hopefully they get it figured out, growing pains just like us. US banks need to pull their collective heads out. Feds too I suppose.

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