Uruguay sets up pot-only shops after challenge by banks

(AP file)

(AP) — The government announced Wednesday that it is changing its retail system for legalized marijuana because banks were making it difficult for pharmacies to sell pot as had been planned.

The sale of marijuana by pharmacies has been hindered because banks are refusing to deal with companies linked to pot in order to follow international financial laws.

Related Content: State lawmakers weighing marijuana legalization

A government official, Juan Andres Roballo, said Uruguay will now set up shops to sell pot for cash. He said this will avoid the problems faced by pharmacies.

In July, marijuana went on sale at 16 pharmacies under a 2013 law that made Uruguay the first nation to legalize a pot market covering the entire chain from plants to purchase. Since then, at least three pharmacies have decided not to sell pot after warnings by banks.

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