By Natalia Kesselman and Joana Scopel via El Planteo
Uruguay, the first country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana, is currently exporting low-THC cannabis, or hemp, to the United States.
According to information procured exclusively by Javier Hasse, managing director of Benzinga Cannabis and CEO of El Planteo, CEND, a provider of technology and certification platforms to the cannabis industry, has completed its inaugural shipment of approximately 1,000 pounds of high-quality cannabis flowers to Low Gravity, a hemp company that specializes in quality control, production and distribution of flowers and kief. This shipment, valued at approximately $2.5 million, will be sold to consumers who want to experience the multiple benefits of cannabinoids without the psychotropic effects of delta-9 THC.
What Does The Uruguayan Ambassador Say?
In an exclusive conversation with Hasse for Forbes, Andrés Durán Hareau, Uruguay’s ambassador to the United States, said: “The partnership between companies in the United States and our burgeoning cannabis community is extremely valuable to our country, which has worked very hard to develop and manufacture some of the most premier hemp in the world.”
“Being able to securely and effectively export our product to the US market will help our country’s businesses grow, and also demonstrates how cannabis is truly a global movement,” Hareau added.
How Will Uruguayan Cannabis Be Distributed?
The Uruguayan flower will be distributed to various wholesalers in the United States, which will package it and sell it to retail stores across the country. The flower will be sold as a whole flower or used to create products such as moonrocks and herbal teas.
CEND has helped make this inaugural large-scale shipment possible.
Erik Holling, CEO of CEND, highlighted that his export program with Uruguay is running smoothly and he is delivering top-quality cannabis flowers to his partners in the United States.
“The global cannabis industry is tightly regulated, which means companies have many challenges in bringing products to market both locally, but even more so when attempting cross-border commerce. By working directly with governments and leveraging our proprietary technological advancements and in-country personnel, Cend helps make the process much more streamlined, transparent, and cost-effective,” Holling said.
Delfín Morgan, Chief Commercial Officer of Ananda Pampa, one of the Uruguayan companies involved in the export, commented: “It is very exciting for Uruguay to be able to export our product to the United States, and it wouldn’t have happened without Cend (…) The company’s technology solution, coupled with their invaluable acumen with government liaising and multinational regulatory knowledge, client Cend Certifications (physical auditing), made the process seamless, saving significant time and money.”
Uruguay, A Pioneer In The Cannabis Market
Uruguay, a small country in Latin America with a population of less than 3.5 million, has become a major player in the global cannabis market.
In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize cannabis for all adult residents, even before Canada. Since then, an industry has developed around marijuana and hemp, but it wasn’t immediate.
In 2014, only 2 licenses had been issued to grow cannabis outdoors on an area of 20 hectares. By 2021, 80 licenses had been issued. However, the real change came last year, when 167 new licenses were granted, more than double the previous number. This allowed the cultivation of more than 500 hectares of cannabis.
During this time period, Uruguay has completed a number of exports, but most of the larger ones (1,000 pounds or more) have been in Europe. In 2020, Uruguay broke a record by completing the largest cannabis export in history to date.
During 2020, the country exported almost 11 tons (11,000 kilograms) of cannabis, with more than 2/3 destined for Switzerland. In 2021, that figure increased slightly to almost 11.34 tons (11,340 kilograms). There are no numbers for 2022 yet, but the figure is expected to remain close to previous years.
Now, after some smaller exports, CEND has set a new milestone by completing the largest export of cannabis to the United States to date.
The partnership between Uruguay and the United States is a step forward in the global acceptance and recognition of the cannabis industry.
Could this be the year when Uruguay’s cannabis exports finally explode?
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Image by El Planteo
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