Argentina prepares to permit home cannabis cultivation and pharmacy sales

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The world’s eighth largest country will soon make changes to its medical cannabis laws. Argentina, which legalized medical cannabis in 2017, is set to welcome home cannabis cultivation in the near future. In addition to this, Argentina’s new cannabis law will allow local pharmacies to produce topical cannabis-infused solutions and potent oils for patients.

Updates to Argentina’s cannabis law were announced by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday, July 15, following a meeting between the Health Minister and physicians. During the meeting, details on draft regulations were secured and finalized. Now, patients can relax in the knowledge that regardless of what type of health coverage he/she possesses medical cannabis in Argentina will be available to everyone at no cost.

“Knowing that cannabis can alleviate many people’s suffering and not do anything about it, that’s the true crime,” said Former Argentine Congressman Facundo Garreton, who is also the director of cannabis wellness company YVY Life Sciences. “Good regulation will help to know the needs of every person, what to buy, where to buy it, while at the same time controlling the product’s quality. We hope this is the start of a path towards full regulation of the entire supply chain,” he added.

What’s included in Argentina’s new cannabis law?

Despite the fact that medical cannabis in Argentina was legalized back in 2017, language pertaining to the country’s laws did not specifically clarify what treatment could be procured by patients. Confusion led to many in-need patients seeking out their medicine elsewhere, such as from illicit sources. Those who feared for their safety or worried about the legal repercussions of buying black market weed were forced to go without treatment.

Thankfully, the new regulation put forward by Argentina’s federal government will allow patients to cultivate cannabis from the comfort of their own home. Researchers and consumers who are registered under the country’s national cannabis program (REPROCANN) can also grow their own bud; plant limits have not been confirmed thus far.

Moreover, pharmacies who are actively participating in Argentina’s medical cannabis program will be allowed to produce cannabis-infused creams, oils and topicals for patient distribution. What this means is that non-members of REPROCANN will still be allowed to purchase medicinal cannabis products, so long as they are in possession of a doctor’s prescription.

Patients must demonstrate their need(s) to use plant-based medicines by showing that they have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition. Currently, only children who suffer from refractory epilepsy can receive medical cannabis in Argentina, but the list of qualifying conditions is expected to expand soon.

With the introduction of Argentina’s updated cannabis law, the pot production wheels have now been set in motion for universities, laboratories and research institutions to conduct research and development (R&D) into the therapeutic qualities of cannabis.

Argentina’s new cannabis law could stimulate economic growth and banish black market

Home to more than 44 million people, Argentina is one of the most populous places in Latin America. Thanks to its large population, there is ample opportunity for the cannabis market to flourish here. Although Colombia is South America’s most prominent cannabis market, Brazil has gradually been introducing sweeping laws to grant patients’ access to the plant, too.

Thanks to the most recent amendments in Argentina’s cannabis law, not only can patients benefit but also, the economy. New jobs are expected to be created as product development is amplified and the market continues growing; thus pushing illicit dealers further out of the picture.

“Cannabis is the answer to our therapies. But as we’re seeing all over the world, it also has the potential to create jobs in many sectors, not just in medicine, but also in agriculture, commerce and manufacturing,” said Gabriela Cancellaro — head of communications for the cannabis advocacy group NGO Mamá Cultiva Argentina. The group’s founder, Valeria Salech, finished by saying that Argentina’s new cannabis law may even provide a safety net for the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.