Argentina creates regulations for medical cannabis products
The Argentine government is certainly moving quickly to establish a regulated cannabis industry. This month, not only did he approve the creation of non-profit patient collectives, but he also, starting this week, created a special category for cannabis herbal medicines and designated the agency federal control for the same as the national administration. Medicine, Food and Medical Technologies (ANMAT). Cannabis products containing more than 0.3% THC must be prescribed to a doctor for a specific condition.
The new resolution is part of the project launched by the Argentine Ministry of Health to “protect, promote and improve the health of the population” through the regulation of cannabis products. It is the commercial end of the law passed in 2020 which allowed the self-cultivation of medicinal plants and the preparation and distribution of these via pharmacies.
Putting patients first in Argentina – not “industry”
Unlike other countries (including the United States and Germany at present), Argentina appears to be on the fast track to building not only a domestic cannabis industry, but one that doesn’t just favor big companies with money. Interestingly, unlike Germany, and more like the early development of the market in North America, home culture and patient collectives rather than a national culture offering was the country’s first step into the world of Cannabis reform, although for the time being it is still “only” of a medical nature.
As everywhere else, medical reform always precedes recreational reform.
However, it should be noted that unlike Germany in particular, if not most of Europe at present, there is no question of limiting the market to for-profit entities – and quite the contrary. Although the changes in Germany were designed to integrate cannabis medicine into national healthcare, there is much to be desired with the way the program has been rolled out so far. Forty percent of patients who asked for reimbursement, after having been prescribed by a doctor, were refused (constant percentage over the last five years). In the meantime, doctors and patients risk being prosecuted by authorities – and for a variety of “crimes” – for not having the right paperwork to prescribe “too much” cannabis.
It will be interesting to see how Argentina, as a country of legalization, continues to roll out such reforms, although it is also quite clear that at the moment recreation reform is not on the cards. That said, it is also decriminalized for personal use.
The impact on Spanish-speaking cannabis reform
Argentina is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world by land mass and has the second largest economy in the South American hemisphere. At the end of the 19th century, Argentina’s GDP even eclipsed that of the United States, although for most of the 20th century political destabilization changed the situation.
It remains one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, with a climate ranging from tropical to polar. More than half of its exports are agricultural.
Beyond its impact on the cannabis industry in the American hemisphere, it is not inconceivable that Argentina’s decision to formalize its cannabis industry would have a significant impact on the still outstanding issue in Spain, which has so far resisted any federal reform. Currently, there are four official EU GMP licenses granted in Spain (all for export purposes), and the cannabis club discussion is still not formalized.
While the clubs could be described as a “not-for-profit” patient collective, the reality however is that all the infrastructure in Spain still exists in a gray area that is not federally regulated.
Beyond the Spanish-speaking world, however, it is striking that the country has decided to pull out a page of North American reform. It is not impossible for patient collectives to transform into private companies (as we have seen in Canada in particular) which also become public.
Time will tell us.
Meanwhile, it’s clear that Argentina is approaching the whole conversation in a way that has proven fruitful, even though most of Europe has ignored the same so far. Libertadara Revolution In effect!