Wednesday 22nd July , Argentina’s health minister Ginés González García met with key stakeholders and advisers to conclude details of the draft legislation which extend the country’s legal cannabis market.
The new regulations allow for Argentinians with a registered health conditions to grow their medicines (cannabis) in their own homes.
In addition, the sale of medical cannabis products, including extracts and topicals, will also be permitted in pharmacies throughout the country.
The Cannabis Exchange UK provides a little more detail…..
How is it different to previous policy?
Although medical cannabis was technically legalised by Argentina’s previous government in 2017, the policy gained significant criticism. Much of this criticism related to barriers and restrictions in patient access to medical cannabis products. Previous laws also did not allow for the cultivation of the plant. In fact, being found with cannabis plants – even for therapeutic purposes – could land Argentinians with a 15-year prison sentence.
The list of conditions which will allow for a patient to use medical cannabis is also expected to be extended. At the time of writing, only those with serious forms of epilepsy are permitted to use medical cannabis products.
Finally, the new legislation plans to make medical cannabis products free of charge to registered therapeutic users who do not have private health coverage and those who are enrolled in research trials and programs. This measure will make Argentina one of the first countries in the world to offer free medical cannabis.
Argentian Publication Infobae provides a lot more detail
The medical cannabis law was passed in 2017 but was highly criticized by patients, researchers and doctors as it did not resolve the lawsuit (Franco Fafasuli)
Three years and a few months after the enactment of the law that allows the medicinal use of marijuana in Argentina, users who until now had to move in the shadow of clandestinity at the risk of being imprisoned will receive the news they had long hoped for:The Government will finally allow therapeutic users to grow the cannabis plant in their homes , in addition to enabling its sale in pharmacies and planning crops and public production .
It is news that changes the paradigm and scenario after 80 years of global and total prohibition. Ginés González García communicated it in a virtual meeting to cannabis organizations, doctors, teachers and scientists that make up the Honorary Advisory Council. The Minister of Health of the Nation presented the draft of the new regulation of the law , which will cover most of the requests of users. And it will override the one drafted by the previous government administration, which had been widely criticized for failing to resolve patient demand.
“It is a very important day to demonstrate that it can be managed vis-à-vis society ,” the Minister told them from his office via teleconference, before leaving the technical issue to the command of the Secretary for Access to Health, Carla Vizzotti .
The most important novelty contained in this draft (which will be approved by the advisory council before continuing its course towards the signature of President Alberto Fernández and publication in the Official Gazette) is, without a doubt, the regulation of article 8 of law 27,350, which includes personal and network cultivation authorization for users, researchers and patients who register for the Cannabis Program (REPROCANN).
The limits on the number of plants allowed in each home or in the headquarters of the organizations for “network” crops will only be known when the health portfolio draws up the particular resolutions, but it will also be a matter of discussion during the meetings held in the following days.
However, the concern of the REPROCANN authorities is placed not so much on the quantity but on the quality of what these crops produce. “The idea is to control the final product” , warned one of the responsible officials, who recognized that total free access is a problem when generating access. At this point the draft also clarifies that “the protection of confidentiality of personal data” will be contemplated .
The Minister of Health Ginés González García led the meeting to announce the draft of the new regulation of the medical cannabis law
This does not mean that anyone will be able to have cannabis plants in their homes, but it does mean that all the solidarity growers, families and groups that, with no response from the State since 2017, maintained with great difficulty (due to the risk) will be able to enter the legality circuit. of being imprisoned and the problems to obtain, for example, seeds) the demand of the users, whose growth was exponential in the last three years.
“The role of organizations will continue to be key, ” said Vizzotti, who also announced to the members of the Advisory Council that they will work to bring to Congress “an overcoming law.” Although she did not give details, it is known that the entrerriana deputy of the FdT Carolina Gaillard is working on a project that would modify the drug law and decriminalize the cultivation and marketing of cannabis for medicinal use.
Until now, having seeds and plants in the private sphere, even for personal and therapeutic consumption, is punishable by drug law with up to 15 years in prison . At least in the medicinal field, this regulatory decision will mean the criminalization of solidarity patients and cultivators .
Another important novelty brought by the 2020 model regulation is the possibility for users not only to import medicinal cannabis products, which was already allowed although only for refractory epilepsies and via ANMAT, but also from the sale in pharmacies authorized to produce “masterful formulations” such as oils, tinctures or creams .
“Patients who are not enrolled in the Program, but who have the use of the cannabis plant and its derivatives and their pathology as contemplated by the Program as a medical prescription, may acquire it through the importation of pharmaceutical specialties or masterful formulations made by pharmacies authorized for this purpose ”, says the draft text, to which Infobae had access .
Home growers must be enrolled in the National Program
In addition, it will cut the limit imposed by the Mauricio Macri government model regarding pathologies enabled for treatment. As of the publication of the new regulations, not only will patients with refractory epilepsy have their permission, but also the rest, whichever has positive effects. The draft expands article 3 “to those who are prescribed the use of the cannabis plant and its derivatives as a therapeutic modality . “
The State will guarantee the free provision for those who do not have social work or private health coverage , and those enrolled in specific programs of public organizations, something that did happen currently but with little success, being exclusive for refractory epilepsy and not having promotion Neither public campaigns, he barely managed to register less than 300 patients for the “research” treatment. In fact, last year the State, after lowering the Ministry of Health to the Secretariat, reduced the budget for the National Cannabis Program, to which it allocated less than 1,000 pesos per day.
The Ministry stated that the new regulation will include the promotion of university extension programs related to medicinal cannabis, testing of substances and experimental crops to strengthen research and access. And that the portfolio may articulate actions and sign agreements with academic scientific institutions, public and private organizations, and non-governmental organizations.Household cultivation will be allowed although number of plants not specified yet
As announced, state cultivation will be promoted and priority will be given to production in public laboratories, something that several provinces had been asking for, especially for several years in Santa Fe. And that, in recent months, the Governor of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof , also began to project .
“The National State will provide technical collaboration to promote the public production of cannabis in all its varieties and its eventual industrialization for its medicinal, therapeutic and research use in the laboratories of Public Production of Medicines. The dispensing of the product will be done through the National Oncology Drug Bank and / or in the pharmacies enabled by the Program ”, the draft details.
National Health will be responsible for guaranteeing the necessary supplies to facilitate medical and / or scientific research of the cannabis plant and “will promote and prioritize, in view of the efficiency in the use of resources, regional production and that carried out through of the public laboratories nucleated in the National Agency of Public Laboratories (ANLAP). In this sense, the Government takes away the exclusivity of INTA and Conicet and, something that had been claimed from a sector of the Advisory Council, opens the game to universities across the country, which until now were essentially the ones who supported the access networks. through joint work with non-profit cannabis organizations.
“It is the regulation that we expected in 2017, and we can only celebrate that in this adverse context. The recognition of self-cultivation protects solidarity farmers, users and women caregivers who find in the plant the solution to a lot of pain, at the cost of our safety and of being criminalized by a system that until today has made us invisible and persecuted us. Conscious of being the weakest link in the chain, we strengthened ourselves collectively, weaving the networks that today bear fruit in this achievement, ” Valeria Salech , president of Mama Cultiva Argentina , celebrated in consultation with this newspaper .
“We received the proposal very well. In addition to self-cultivation and net cultivation, the current regulation unlocks non-clinical research and progress is made on whitening the use of plant material, the seeds, which are essential. Surely this draft will be improved but we are very happy, “said chemist and teacher Gastón Barreto , representative at the meeting as part of the National Interuniversity Council.
Although no government source ventured for when the new regulation will be published in the Official Gazette, the Ministry of Health asked the members of the Council to raise doubts and suggestions before Friday, so it is speculated that it would not take much more than days . The draft has the approval of Alberto Fernández. The look on the fine print of the draft was made by the Legal and Technical secretary, Vilma Ibarra, and some legislators from the Front of All worked together with the technical staff of the current Ministry of Health, among whom is the doctor Marcelo Morante , a reference in the issue that “survived” the previous administration.