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Rossana Rilla now has the ability to sell cannabis under Uruguay’s new law that allows pharmacies to sell marijuana. However, to the surprise of outsiders, she states that she would never do such a thing. During the near thirty years that she was a pharmacist, she has been beaten, dragged across the floor, and threatened both at gunpoint as well as with a grenade. She is scared that selling cannabis would only make her store a larger target for robbers as well as burglars.

“You see their faces, and you can tell right away that they are not consumers who are here just to buy marijuana,” Rilla stated about the “suspicious people” who have recently been coming into her Montevideo pharmacy asking if she sells marijuana.

She is not the only person scared of the government’s cannabis program. Most of the country’s pharmacists have not gotten on board, stating that they fear because of a lack of appropriate security as well as a complaint about the amount of paperwork that would need to be filled out. In addition to that, there are worries about an increase in operating costs as well as opposition to selling legalized marijuana. Uruguay legalized the farming and sale of cannabis in 2013 to try to make the globe’s first government-regulated national marketplace for marijuana. The goal was to fight the increasing homicide and crime rates related to the drug trafficking in the South American country. However, while the government wants to begin selling cannabis at pharmacies over the next couple of weeks, just fifty out of 1,200 pharmacies are registered to sell marijuana.

“I don’t see the need to get into a conflict with people who are already selling weed in the neighborhoods,” Marcelo Trujillo, who owns three pharmacies in Montevideo’s Cerro neighborhood, said. “I just don’t want to expose myself or my employees.”


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