Last Week, Argentinian Health Minister Ginés González García met with experts including doctors, scientists, and representatives of cannabis organizations to reach an agreement on relaxing medical cannabis laws. The South American nation legalized medicinal cannabis in 2017, but many critics believed the initial regulations failed to meet patient needs.
Under the new rules, pharmacies will be permitted to sell cannabis oils and topicals, and patients will also be allowed to get their medicine free of charge if they don’t have medical insurance. Further, home cultivation for patients will be permitted, although the specific number of plants per household has not been announced.
All patients wanting to access medical cannabis in pharmacies or grow their own must register with the country’s cannabis program called REPROCANN. Local news in Argentina has reported that REPROCANN is less concerned with the quantity people grow, focusing instead on the final quality of the cannabis they use. They also indicated an emphasis on protecting the data of those individuals who register for the program.
Health Minister Garcia also noted that it is Argentina’s intention to develop a domestic cultivation industry for the country to become self-sufficient. Further, the new regulations will promote medical cannabis research in university extensions, which could include crops used for experimentation. The Ministry may also sign agreements with academic scientific institutions, public and private organizations, and non-governmental organizations to strengthen research and access.
Up until this point, having seeds or plants for personal cultivation in Argentina could have resulted in up to 15 years in prison, and these new laws are designed to essentially decriminalize medical cannabis cultivation for qualified patients.
Argentina marks the latest country in South America to broaden its cannabis availability and industry. Neighboring Uruguay and Brazil already have burgeoning cannabis industries respectively, and Colombia has been a formidable player in both its domestic and international cannabis activities.