Effective July 20, Brazil’s National Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) will no longer authorize medical cannabis patients to import products in natura—dried flower—essentially limiting them to just CBD oils. The agency’s announcement comes less than three weeks after it denied rumors it was about to do so.
Importing cannabis in natura has technically been prohibited since 2019, when ANVISA first published its list of approved medical cannabis products and none of them involved flower. But the language was open-ended enough that patients could still request authorization for products that weren’t on the list, and ANVISA would evaluate those requests individually.
Patients who currently hold permits to import in natura products can legally continue to do so until September 20, but ANVISA is no longer authorizing any new ones.
“Considering that, as of yet, there is no robust scientific evidence that proves the safety, on top of which there is a high potential of diversion for illicit purposes, it is not permitted to import products made with Cannabis in natura or parts of the plant, including flower,” ANVISA stated in a technical note that Filter has translated from Portuguese. “Smoking and inhaling a plant is not a pharmaceutical formulation/route of administration intended for medical products.”
Ironically, in closing one door that ambiguous language had previously left open, ANVISA opened another: “Smoking and inhaling.” This could be interpreted as referring to combustion—like smoking a joint—or combustion as well as vaping.