Uruguay, the first country in the world to legalize cannabis for adult use, is now exporting low-THC cannabis, or hemp, to the United States.
According to information procured exclusively ahead of an official announcement, CEND, a global provider of customized technological infrastructure and certification platforms for the cannabis industry and other regulated industries, has completed its inaugural large-scale shipment of low-THC legal cannabis (or hemp) from Uruguay to the United States. While smaller exports had been completed before, the market had never seen one of this magnitude.
This initial shipment of more than 1,000 pounds of top-quality flower was sent to Low Gravity, a hemp company focused on quality control, production and distribution of high-end flower and kief — loose cannabis trichomes. The imported flower, commercially valued at approximately $2.5 million, will be sold to consumers who desire to experiment the many benefits of cannabinoids, without the psychotropic effects of delta-9 THC.
In an exclusive chat, the Ambassador for Uruguay in the U.S., Andrés Durán Hareau, 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.”
And he added, “Being able to securely and effectively export our product to the U.S. market will help our country’s businesses grow, and also demonstrates how cannabis is truly a global movement.”
The Uruguayan flowers will be distributed to various wholesalers throughout the country. These wholesales will in turn jar and sell the flower to retail smoke shops nationally.
The flower will then be sold in whole flower form, or used to make moonrock products and infusions, a Cend representative said.
“We are thrilled to have our export program with Uruguay fully operational and delivering top-shelf cannabis (hemp) flower to our partners in the United States,” added Erik Holling, CEO of Cend. “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,” explained Holling.
How It’s Done
Cend’s proprietary solutions leverage each country’s regulations to build an end-to-end offering that encompasses lab testing, onsite facility auditing, government liaising, logistics and due diligence with border officials to enable exportation and importation to happen in hours, as opposed to days or weeks. Throughout this process, visibility is provided to all entities through a unique real-time software backbone built on secure proprietary blockchain (private and public) technology.
“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,” commented Delfín Morgan, chief commercial officer of Ananda Pampa, one of the Uruguayan companies involved in the export. “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.”
While dozens of Uruguayan companies sent their samples to Cend for this initial shipment, only four of them were selected for the final export. “We do physical audits to check the flower quality,” a company representative explained.
Some Background On Uruguay
A small country in Latin America with a population of less than 3.5 million, Uruguay has become a big player in the global cannabis space.
The country moved to fully legalize cannabis for all adult residents in late 2013, becoming the first one in the world to do so, even before Canada. Ever since, it’s slowly developed an industry around cannabis and hemp.
In 2014, only 2 licenses had been granted to cultivate 20 hectares of outdoor cannabis. By 2021, 80 licenses had been issued.
But the significant change occurred last year, when 167 new licenses were awarded, more than doubling the number of people producing the herb. These enabled the cultivation of more than 500 hectares of cannabis.
Over this period of time, a series of exports were completed, but most of the big ones (1,000 pounds or more) went to Europe. In fact, in 2020, Uruguay broke a record for the largest cannabis export in history. Over the entire year of 2020, the South American country exported almost 11 tonnes (more than 24,000 pounds) of cannabis, with more than 2/3 going to Switzerland. In 2021, the number rose slightly to almost 25,000 pounds. Numbers are not in for 2022 yet, but the figure expected is not far from the prior years’.
Now, following a few smaller exports, CEND has established a new benchmark, completing the largest export of cannabis to the U.S. to date.
Could this be the year when Uruguay’s cannabis exports finally explode? Stay tuned for more on the topic. (Full Story)