Uruguay: It's not just the butt of John Oliver's jokes, it's a world leader in cannabis policy. And it's about to take another huge step.

Since the South American country passed a bill to legalize cannabis in late 2013, its implementation has been spotty and slow. Home growers were permitted to have up to six plants, and registered cannabis clubs were allowed to grow a maximum of 99 plants per year, but the development of a national cannabis market was postponed. Until now.

As TeleSUR reports, the Uruguayan government has awarded cannabis-growing licenses to two companies. Simbiosis and Icorp are set to produce more than 2 tons of cannabis a year. Starting in mid-2016, it will then be sold through pharmacies at prices as low as $1.20 US a gram - a move designed to lure users away from the black market.

What could this all mean? The BBC filed this report:

It looks like the world will be watching Uruguay in the months to come.

h/t BBC News, TeleSUR.