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Argentina: Government Legalizes Self-Cultivation, Sale Of Medicinal Cannabis

This article was written by Marian Venini and originally published in El Planteo.

· 11/12/2020 13:15

This article was written by Marian Venini and originally published in El Planteo.

In a historic legislative measure, the Argentine government has modified the regulations for Law 27,350 on the medicinal use of marijuana.

Published in the Official Gazette, Decree 883/2020 authorizes the self-cultivation or “controlled solidary cultivation” for those who previously register in the Cannabis Program Registry (Reprocann). In addition, it acknowledges that "it is imperative to create a regulatory framework that allows timely, safe and inclusive access and protection for those who need to use cannabis as a therapeutic tool."

Patients First

Through an annex to the Decree, it is established that both the State and the health insurance companies must guarantee patients access to medical marijuana. The importance of clinical research and quality control of cannabis-based products is also mentioned.

This legal framework allows for the production of "master formulations,” guaranteeing safe, legal and affordable products. These, in turn, will be made available at the National Bank of Oncological Drugs and authorized pharmacies.

The Decree places special emphasis on families who are currently forced to resort to cultivation outside the legal frame.

It acknowledges that the role of the State is "to adequately regulate access to the controlled cultivation of the cannabis plant, as well as its derivatives, for purposes of medicinal, therapeutic and / or palliative treatment of pain."

The new set of regulations also notes how, currently, legal and bureaucratic restrictions regarding access to cannabis oil and its derivatives are far too stringent for patients, and how high import costs make the products financially exclusive as well.

The new standard aims to remove those hurdles. To this end, the government is committed to promoting scientific research. In addition, the training of healthcare professionals will also be promoted, in order to adequately accompany patients and facilitate informed and safe access to medicinal cannabis.

Just The Beginning

Needless to say, this is a key moment for marijuana activism in Argentina. Several leading voices of the cannabis movement have already celebrated the new measure.

Valeria Salech, president of advocacy group Mamá Cultiva Argentina, recognized the magnitude of this event after so many years in waiting.

However, she also pointed out that this is just the beginning: “It commits us to keep working to expand rights. Many organizations throughout the country have put their bodies and souls to work these last three and a half years in order to celebrate this right today. Now we have to continue working for a comprehensive regulatory framework.”

Gabriela Cancellaro, director of communications for Mamá Cultiva Argentina, shares this sentiment.

The regulation, she explained, "challenges us as a society to continue to improve, and work for better laws, which contemplate all forms of access, distribution and commercialization of cannabis, so that no one misses out on the possibility of accessing the whole plant".

Likewise, she described this right as "an enormous advance and a huge commitment", and celebrates the legitimation of families to access the therapy they need.

"That is the fight we have been leading: to stop being persecuted, stigmatized, criminalized for defending our right to autonomy and health."

A Great Step Forward

The benefits of this regulation are not limited to healthcare. Pablo Fazio, president of the Argentine Chamber of Cannabis (ARGENCANN), highlighted the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana and promoting its research.

"It is a great step forward," he declared. "A space is beginning to open, allowing us to awaken an economic development agenda around cannabis in our country, which until now was completely forbidden."

Fazio celebrated the setting of a legal framework that facilitates the advent of the Argentine private sector in the marijuana industry. He highlighted, in turn, the multiple economic and productive development opportunities that this industry can offer the country.

Photo: Matca Films.