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Brazilian City of Goiânia Declares Cannabis Day

This landmark event in Goiânia, approved by the majority of the city council, was chosen to be a Municipal Day of Cannabis Therapy — and a complement to a municipal law that allows for the distribution of cannabis-based medicines citywide.

According to Councilwoman Aava Santiago, “the action favours research and reduces prejudice.”

This project has three goals: to increase cannabis education, encourage debate amongst patients and promote both research as well medicinal use. The goal of this project is to establish a new cannabis network in cities where there has been opposition.

Because it was not April 20, the National Day for Combating Cancer fell at the opposite end, this day was selected. Activists in Goiânia made the choice.

In doing so, it also becomes the first “Cannabis Day” in the world not to be celebrated in spring.

This is only the second such municipal initiative in the world. After an anonymous poll, Kanepi in Estonia adopted a flag with a cannabis leaf for its town.

Brazil: The State of Cannabis Reform

Last summer, in June, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies’ Special Commission approved PL 399/2015 which would legalize the domestic cultivation of cannabis for medicinal, veterinary, scientific, and industrial purposes. As federal legislators defied President Jair Bolsonaro’s threats to veto, the bill was able to move forward in the domestic arena.

The move in Goiânia seems to be a deliberately provocative action also aimed at finalizing the inevitable legalization of cannabis nationally. Indeed, this is very much like the city of Boulder leading a charge for the state of Colorado — the only difference being that a majority of federal lawmakers are also defying the President to support the same.

Brazilian Cannabis Reform’s Significance

Brazil is South America’s largest country and fifth-largest nation. It borders each South American country, except Chile and Ecuador.

For a better understanding of the potential impact of reform on a national or international cannabis industry, Brazil ranks 24th in landmass behind Germany, and boasts 212.6million citizens. This makes Brazil approximately 2.65x larger than Germany. The country is 86% smaller than the United States, with 120 million less people. 

The reform of cannabis in the United States would, therefore, be substantial, regardless of how it’s sliced. Promoting the medicinal industry in Canada will continue to have an impact, and the exporting of cannabinoids will provide a powerful new source of global supply.

The Southern Hemisphere’s “Emerald Triangle?”

Brazil is not unfamiliar with cannabis cultivation. 

There is one problem: Cannabis production in fragile areas like forests, both commercial and medical, can be unsustainable.

This does not necessarily mean there are no marijuana plants grown beneath these virgin canopies. A 2020 federal police report states that illegal cannabis cultivation is rapidly spreading throughout Amazonia. Cartography of Violence: Amazon, November 2021 Study, found that illegal cannabis production was directly related to both violence and deforestation.

Brazil loses 24 trees every second due to this type of activity. 

And then there is the impact of climate change and forest fires on Brazil’s landrace strains. Brazil Amazonia was nearly destroyed by a forestfire in 2019, which threatened to wipe out the 500-year old, widely-crossed, native strain. It is found only in Amazonia, the Amazon rainforest where it can grow in natural settings. It was first used by the indigenous people to relieve pain in 1549.

Sustainable Cannabis

Brazil has many advantages, regardless of the environmental challenges it presents. It is an ideal laboratory to preserve and find landrace cannabis, as well as ways to grow it commercially in a way that does not harm the environment.

That opportunity may not come along, however. This will require dedication, commitment, financial support, and political will.

If the citizens of Goiânia have any say in the matter, along with evolving political forces on a federal level, that is also a possibility. Locals say it is “Or, “voce está com a faca e o queijo na mão” — or “you have the knife and the cheese in your hand” — meaning everything is in your power to succeed.