Things That Matter

Uruguay May Soon Become The World’s Medical Marijuana Hub

Uruguay made history by becoming the first country to legalize cannabis in 2013, with former President Jose Mujica signing legislation to allow for recreational use of the plant. Now, investors are hoping the country can become an export hub for medical marijuana as the industry continues to expand globally.

There is serious money to be made off medical marijuana and investors want in on it.

Uruguay has been at the forefront of regulating and cultivating medical marijuana but a new investment group wants to capitalize on this. Silverpeak Life Sciences Uruguay Inc, one of the companies in the Uruguay’s growing medical marijuana industry, is working with investors to raise $35 million to increase production and build a larger extraction lab next year.

According to Silverpeak Life Sciences CEO and U.S. cannabis investor Jordan Lewis, the company expansion is expected to increase revenues by the millions.

“Our planned and desired expansion would be about 25 tons next year and that should push us above $100 million in revenue,” Lewis said told Bloomberg.

According to a report released in 2018 by Arcview Market Research in partnership with BDS Analytics, Legal marijuana sales in certain South American market are expected to jump from just $125 million in 2018 to $776 million by 2027.

“While Brazil and Argentina will far outweigh other countries in terms of spending, Uruguay is the clear leader in early liberalization of its cannabis regulations,” the report said. “Any adult citizen/legal resident of Uruguay can now legally purchase cannabis from pharmacies at government-controlled prices intended to undercut illicit market rates and starve out cartel operations there.”

Despite getting a head start in terms of legalization, Uruguay’s weed economy hasn’t fully developed.

CREDIT: Acrview Market Research/BDS Analytics

Uruguay had a head start in terms of the legalization of marijuana compared to countries like the U.S. and Canada. But that hasn’t translated into a profitable economic source for the country.

Instead, various investors have tapped money into the U.S. and Canada in hopes of taking advantage of the relaxed marijuana regulations the countries now have. The inflow of investment in those countries has created a very promising legal marijuana market that comes after the drug was vilified for decades.

Uruguay hopes to see this type of revenue flow as Fotmer Corporation SA, Silverpeak’s subsidiary headquartered in Uruguay, has asked the country’s cannabis regulatory agency Ircca, to increase its allowed annual production to 400 tons of cannabis plants.

There are a handful of companies that have invested in Uruguay by building greenhouses and extraction laboratories. They have done this in order to supply medical marijuana to other countries in Latin America Canada and in Europe.

With enough investment and support, Uruguay could become one of the world’s leading medical marijuana producers.

Since 2015, Ircca has approved cannabis projects that are worth $57 million and is currently looking at other permits for 21 projects worth approximately $40 million. Their goal is to increase the number of licensed marijuana producers that supply recreational weed to pharmacies from two to as many as five by the end of the year.

By the current pace of investments in Uruguay, all this numbers might change as U.S. and Canadian cannabis producers start to look at the country as a pot destination.If there is enough government support, Uruguay could become the first country to reach $1 billion in annual medical marijuana exports in as soon as five years.

Lewis says that based on early projections, Uruguay’s cannabis industry could become a $100-million-plus industry as soon as 2020. Either way, the country of 3.4 million people is sure to reek some of the benefits of what is expected to bring a millions of dollars in revenue.

READ:Uruguay Legalized The Sale Of Marijuana But The Banks Are Not Dealing With Pharmacies That Sell It

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In A Post-Covid World, Here Is Where You All Said You Want To Travel

Culture

In A Post-Covid World, Here Is Where You All Said You Want To Travel

Covid put a stop to our travel plans for 2020. After almost a year in lockdown, we have had time to plan fantasy trips and explore the world. We asked you where you wanted to visit and here are some of the places you all can’t wait to see.

Argentina

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Argentina offers something for everyone. As on of the southernmost countries in the world, Argentina offers natural sights that will make nature lovers swoon. Into architecture? Cities like Mendoza offers a look at the art-deco style that will make you feel like you are back in time. Don’t forget to try to make a trip down to Ushuaia, the End of the World for a spectacular view.

Cuba

Cuba is a tricky one but a beautiful place to see. The country is filled with old buildings and cars that make it feel like a time capsule. Now, the island is old because they are oppressed and don’t have much. But you can always find ways to make sure that you help people of the island instead of giving the money to government approved businesses.

Costa Rica

This is about as wild and wondrous as it gets. Costa Rica will give everyone a chance to really be one with nature. The Central American country is a rainforest oasis with nature everywhere you look. The country prides itself on how development is not encroaching on nature and has even outlawed zoos and aquariums.

Honduras

Honduras is an underestimated place to visit. The food and people are warm and inviting. There has been some unrest in the country in recent years and a series of hurricanes has devastated the population. Tourism is a great way to bring money into a place the needs it. Just don’t take advantage of them while you are there.

Mexico

Mexico is a country filled with wonders new and old. You can experience the ruins of some of the oldest civilizations and bask in the modernity of Mexico City. The food is as diverse and vibrant as the people with delicious moles in Oaxaca and experimental fusions in Mexico City. Valle de Guadalupe is home to some farm to table restaurants and exquisite wineries. It truly is a journey of the sense if you take time to see the country.

Colombia

Colombia is one of South America’s gems. After years of internal conflict, the nation is growing and quickly becoming a destination. Bogotá and Medellín are great but make it a point to visit Cali. The city is one of the place everyone should visit if they make their way to Colombia.

READ: Mexico Announces 11 New Pueblos Mágicos And It’s The Post-COVID Travel Lust We All Need Right Now

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Latino Lawmakers Help Make History As The House Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana Across The Country

Things That Matter

Latino Lawmakers Help Make History As The House Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana Across The Country

With much of the nation’s attention focused on the Coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s refusal to concede an election he lost, recent news of a vote in the House of Representatives may have slipped by unnoticed. But it shouldn’t.

The House just made history as it voted to decriminalize cannabis, a historic symbolic moment marking Congress’ very late to the party move toward embracing the views held by a large majority of Americans.

The bill was spearheaded by House Democrats and the entire Congressional Hispanic Caucus voted in favor of the bill, helping ensure its passage. Although it’s largely seen as a symbolic victory for marijuana rights advocates – since the Senate isn’t likely to act: Senate Republicans have indicated there’s no appetite to pass the measure.

The House of Representatives made history by passing a bill to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

For the first time in history, a bill decriminalizing marijuana has passed the lower chamber of congress and although it stands zero chance of becoming law, it’s a major milestone towards marijuana legalization.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act passed the house with 228 in favor and 164 opposed, with only five Republicans voting in favor of the measure and six Democrats voting against it, according to ABC News.

From here, the bill will be sent to the Senate, where the measure will be reviewed for a second time. It’s unlikely that the Republican-led Senate will approve the bill, but seeing it move forward could mean a noticeably positive impact on the health of people across the country and on the U.S. at a societal level.

“Millions of Americans’ lives have been upended as a result of convictions for possessing small amounts of marijuana, and the racial disparities in conviction rates for those offenses are as shocking as they are unjust,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in a statement after the vote, according to CNN. “That’s why we passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act today.”

The bill would importantly help those who have been convicted in the past of non-violent marijuana offenses.

The MORE Act aims to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, which would finally allow states to regulate it as they see fit, which many states are already doing.

Perhaps most importantly, it would also expunge past convictions for marijuana possession and require resentencing for those in prison for pot convictions. The bill also authorizes a federal tax on marijuana sales that would begin at 5 percent, funds which advocates say would be used to reinvest in communities that have suffered from the war on drugs.

The bill would also ban government agencies from using marijuana as a reason to deny people federally subsidized housing or to adversely impact their immigration status.

American’s opinions on marijuana use has changed dramatically in a short time and federal law needs to catch up.

Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

Less than a decade ago, recreational marijuana was illegal in all 50 states. Now, as of December 2020, 15 states allow recreational use of marijuana (with Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota voting to allow it in 2020) in addition to the 38 states that allow medical marijuana.

That’s a rapid shift. And one that the federal government hasn’t kept up with. As voters across the country embrace legal weed, it’s remained completely illegal at the federal level, treated as the same category as cocaine and heroine.

Americans support marijuana legalization by a two-to-one margin, according to polls, numbers that have almost completely flipped in the past two decades. That support includes majorities of Republicans and vast majorities of Democrats and independents.

“We’re not rushing to legalize marijuana. The American people have already done that. We’re here because Congress has failed to deal with a disastrous war on drugs and do its part for the over 15 million marijuana users in every one of your districts,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat and one of the bill’s chief architects, during House floor debate Friday morning before the vote. “It’s time for Congress to step up and do its part. We need to catch up with the rest of the American people.”

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