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Chilean Pharmacies Set to Start Medical Marijuana Sales


A man waves a flag during a rally against drug trafficking and in favor of the legalization of self-cultivation of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes in Santiago, Chile, April 20, 2017.

Pharmacies in Chile's capital, Santiago, will start selling cannabis-based medicines this week, the first time such treatments have been offered by drugstores in Latin America, the companies behind the launch said Wednesday.

Canadian cannabis producer and distributor Tilray said it had partnered with local firm Alef Biotechnology, which is licensed by the Chilean government.

Chile legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2015 and is among a number of Latin American countries gradually loosening laws prohibiting the cultivation, distribution and consumption of cannabis.

"By importing Tilray's medical cannabis products to Chile we intend to ease the suffering of those in need by offering pure, precise and predictable medical cannabis products," Alef board president Roberto Roizman said in a statement.

Tilray's T100 and TC100 products will be available at a number of pharmacies in Santiago initially, under prescription. The average sale price will be $310 for treatment that lasts around a month, a spokesman said.

Legislative debate

Until this week, patients in Chile could obtain medical marijuana only by importing it or from a limited number of dedicated farms set up by a charity. Chile's Congress is debating a bill that would allow people to grow their own plants.

Argentina and Colombia are following similar paths.

Uruguay became a global pioneer when it legalized the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana in late 2013. Pharmacies in the country will begin legal sales of recreational cannabis in July.

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