The Federal Court understood that there could be no contradiction between Law No. 23,737 on narcotics, which criminalizes users, and No. 27,350, on research for medicinal and scientific use of the Cannabis plant and its derivatives
Three years after the judicial process of the “Clínica Cannabis”, in Córdoba, famous for the arrests of its director and founder, doctor Carlos Laje Vallejo, and his collaborators, the Federal Justice dismissed the charges of the eight Defendants: Carlos Fernando Laje Vallejo, Héctor Walter Mariño, Paola Jordana Toranzo Gil, Fernanda Daniela Moyano, María Paula Culiaciati, Toribio Aragón, Fernando Moroni and Jorge Augusto Asís.
It all started in August 2017 after a mega-operation by the Anti-Drug Police Force (FPA) in which simultaneous raids were carried out on properties and different locations of the so-called ‘Cannabis Clinics’ in the city of Córdoba and also in Villa Carlos Paz, where Laje and others who used Cannabis-derived oils and creams, were arrested.
Initially, the case was in the hands of the provincial justice and prosecutor Jorgelina Gómez accused them of the crime of commercializing narcotics and forming a conspiracy. It must be remembered that they spent several months in detention and in preventive detentions.
But on July 30, in a new sentence for Córdoba, the Federal Court understood that there could be no contradiction between Law No. 23,737 on narcotics, which criminalizes users, and No. 27,350, on research for the medical and scientific use of the Cannabis plant and its derivatives. For the principle of non-contradiction, all were acquitted, although the Public Ministry appealed in three cases.
Nadia Podsiadlo, a defense lawyer for several of the defendants, spoke with El Periódico and explained the importance of this decision so that all users and promoters of Cannabis derivatives for medical use stop being persecuted by the Provincial Justice. Something that, too, may soon change thanks to the announcement by the Ministry of Health of the Nation that it will regulate law No. 27,350 of medical marijuana to allow self-cultivation and sale, something that for the time being is still excluded from the law.
The lawyer pointed out that at all times the issue refers to the medical use of marijuana and that it is not about the marketing of marijuana.
– In a case that had great police repercussions and preventive arrests, why has the Federal Justice acquitted all the accused?
Law 27350, approved in March 2017, has as its main objective the research and study of Cannabis plants and their derivatives. Through various studies and reports by WHO, Anmat and studies with different Cannabis users, it was possible to determine the positive effect on certain pathologies. So, what the Justice considered is that there could not be two antagonistic legal rights. Because, on the one hand, the law on narcotics says that public health is protected and, on the other, Law No. 27350 on research talks about the positive effects. For this reason, Justice decided on the principle of non-contradiction. This principle should be applied to all persons detained or prosecuted in provincial courts for medical cannabis.
– How does the decision benefit medical cannabis users?
The novelty of the decision is that it is not considered a narcotic harmful to health. Nowhere in the country can it be sold. Users are not penalized, but it is not possible to buy because the drug law still prevails. But the decision took into account that a few weeks ago the Ministry of Health called different associations of producers and growers, users, legislators so that oils, ointments and creams can be sold from the plant. Now, the issue is no longer demonized as it was before the enactment of Law No. 27350, which allows those who consume it not to be criminalized. However, the conduct continues to be repressed by law until this project by the Ministry is regulated.
– Would it be another step towards a health approach instead of criminalizing the user?
It should have always been addressed by the health issue, not by the punitive issue. That’s because (Cannabis) does not affect health, quite the opposite. Even in neighboring countries that have legalized the use, positive effects have been demonstrated in different pathologies. This case was initially in the provincial court in a totally criminalized way, with preventive arrests. The change in approach serves to stop considering this substance as a narcotic.
– However, self-cultivation or the purchase and sale of oil for medical use remains prohibited.
Yes, it is a conduct that remains prohibited, at least until the rules of the Ministry of Health come into force. Today it is totally bureaucratic and complicated to access oil through Anmat. It is only accessible with a number of requirements and not everyone can get it. What is sought with the regulation is that people can register to have their plants and produce their creams or oils. Today, unfortunately, it is not possible to go somewhere and buy Cannabis oil.
Source: El Periódico website information