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Argentina Creates Regulations for Cannabis-Based Medical Products

The government of Argentina has been moving quickly to create a legal cannabis market. The government of Argentina has not only approved the establishment of patient groups for non-profit purposes, but also, this week, it created a new category of cannabis medication and designated the federal control agent for the same, called the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology. A doctor must prescribe cannabis products with more than 0.3% THC for specific conditions.

The new resolution is part of the project launched by the Argentina Ministry of Health to “protect, promote and improve the health of the population” through the regulation of cannabis-based products. The business end of the 2020 law that allowed self-cultivation and preparation of medicinal plants, as well as distribution via pharmacies was achieved.

Putting Patients First in Argentina — Not “The Industry”

Argentina is on the fast track, unlike other countries (including Germany and the U.S. right now), to not only establish a national marijuana industry but also to expand it to include large companies with financial resources. Interestingly, unlike Germany, and more like the early development of the market in North America, home grow and patient collectives rather than a national cultivation bid have been the country’s first step into the world of cannabis reform, even if for now it is still “only” of the medical kind.

Medical reform is always more important than recreational reform, as has been the norm everywhere.

However, it is notable that unlike in Germany specifically, if not most of Europe at present, there is no discussion of limiting the market to for-profit entities—and indeed quite the opposite. Although the German changes were made to allow cannabis medicine to be covered under the national healthcare system, much remains to be done about the implementation of the program. Fourty percent of the patients who had been prescribed cannabis by their doctor have requested reimbursement. That is an average rate over five years. In the meantime, both doctors and patients face prosecution by authorities—and for a variety of “crimes”—from not having the right paperwork to prescribing “too much” cannabis.

While it will be fascinating to see how Argentina continues its legalization efforts, however, it seems clear that recreational reform is not on the horizon. It is, however, decriminalized for personal usage.

Spanish Speaking Cannabis Reform and its Impact

Argentina, which is the most Spanish-speaking country by land mass, has the second largest economy in South America. In late 19th-century, Argentina’s GDP was even greater than that of the United States. However, this changed with political instability throughout the twentieth century. 

The country is one of the biodiverse in the world and has a climate that can be described as polar to tropical. Over half of the country’s exports go to agriculture.

Beyond its impact on the cannabis industry in the American hemisphere, it is not inconceivable that Argentina’s move to formalize its cannabis industry will have a significant impact on the ever-hovering question in Spain, which has so far resisted federal reform of any kind. Four EU GMP licensing have been granted to Spain for export purposes, and there is no formalization of the cannabis club. 

While the clubs could be described as a “non-profit” patient collective, the reality is however, that the entire infrastructure in Spain still exists in a grey area that is not federally regulated.

It is remarkable that this country decided to follow the North American model of reform, even though it may not be popular in the Spanish-speaking countries. There is a possibility that these patient groups will become private businesses (as we saw in Canada) and go public.

It will all be revealed over time.

In the interim, however, Argentina seems to have a successful approach that is addressing the whole conversation, even though the majority of Europe is still ignoring it. Revolución Libertadara indeed!