News / World

Uruguay: 6 workers arrested for stealing state-grown pot

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Six people have been arrested for stealing marijuana from a state-owned plot of land that will supply Uruguay's regulated national pot market, which is the world's first such marketplace, police said Wednesday.

The men were caught carrying cannabis seeds hidden in a toolbox and backpack, police said in a statement. Drug czar Diego Olivera said they worked for two companies that won the government bid to produce marijuana.

It is the first robbery of its kind since Uruguay legalized the cultivation and sale of marijuana in 2013 in an effort to fight rising homicide and crime rates associated with drug trafficking. The law allows the growing of pot by licensed individuals, the formation of growers and users clubs, and the sale by pharmacies of 40 grams of marijuana a month to registered users.

The companies that won the bid have finished their first harvest, but the marijuana is not for sale in pharmacies yet.