While it may seem “old hat” to North American cannabis industry experts, Government Argentina just made a bold move that will allow patients to access medical cannabis in a way we haven’t seen in most reformed jurisdictions elsewhere. It is the Argentine Ministry of Health authorized Privately licensed and authorized nonprofit organizations To grow cannabis for medical patients.
Each NGO will be allowed to offer cannabis to up to 150 people, grow it both indoors and outdoors and register several properties for this. Patients will also have to participate in a special registry called the Registry of the Cannabis Program (REPROCANN). Nonprofit organizations that enroll more than 150 patients are also allowed to request permission to extend numbers of such patients to the National Medical Cannabis Study and Research Program.
Resolution 673 It amends an Argentine resolution passed in March of last year that created and regulated the REPROCANN program and created the basic standards for controlled cultivation for medical users.
Each nonprofit can grow up to nine plants per patient, and is allowed to grow up to 6 million2 For indoor cultivation and up to 15 m2 For outdoor cultivation for this purpose. When transporting by vehicle, authorized persons will be permitted to use up to six 30ml bottles of cannabis extract or up to 40g of dried flowers.
The program is set up to simplify guaranteed access to treatments for medical cannabis users and allow third parties to offer the same to registered patients.
Cannabis reform in Argentina
Cannabis has been criminalized in Argentina for personal use since the Supreme Court ruled the same in 2009 and also decided that personal use is a constitutional right. General consumption is generally tolerated. Consumption for medicinal purposes has not yet been regulated. However, the cultivation, sale, and transportation of cannabis remained illegal.
In March 2017, the Argentine Senate approved the medicinal use of CBD oil. In late November 2020, President Alberto Fernandez signed a decree allowing Self-cultivation of cannabis and access to subsidized drugs.
How is the law of Argentina?
While it’s not the most prominent cannabis reform program globally, the Argentine government appears to be taking a page from other reform programs that have been implemented elsewhere – as well as what hasn’t worked.
For example, in both the United States and Canada, patient groups similar to those in Argentina became the basis for the legalization of the commercial industry. However, in places like the Netherlands, certainly until the launch of official national farming trials next year, and currently in Spain, the growth and cultivation of café and club crops remains largely unregulated. Moving between the planting site and the consumption and sales site is still dangerous because the whole process is still in a gray area.
Beyond that, the idea of formalizing patient groups has not spread in places like Europe. At the moment, only Switzerland has plans to implement federally regulated cannabis clubs – although the first distribution of them will still take place in pharmacies.
Full discussion of patient groups and nonprofits is completely off the table in Germany, now in the process of developing guidelines for recreational use (and incredibly delaying the decriminalization process). Patients largely still fend for themselves in a maze of bureaucratic red tape that begins with physicians’ reluctance to prescribe cannabis extracts and medicines (and most of all the cannabis flower) and the frequent obstruction of these requests by insurance companies and the state-operating regulator doing the work of final approvals.
When they don’t get this, many patients (who don’t stop getting sick suddenly) turn to the black market, which is dangerous for patients in terms of quality and of course, they face criminal penalties if caught with more than five to 15 grams of weed (depending on hunting location).