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Superior Court in Brazil Affirms Right to Cannabis Home Grow

Brazil was the latest country to approve that patients can grow cannabis to relieve chronic pain.

This case will have significant domestic consequences. The law currently prohibits any domestic cultivation. Legally dispensed cannabis-based drugs must be imported. Brazil, however is still grappling with the best way to go about domestic reform.

This decision means that the Brazilian Health Ministry has to now establish guidelines for the implementation of regulations. The judges meant exactly this. Judge Rogério Schietti said that the court acted because of the failure of the government to take a scientific position on the issue. “The discourse against this possibility is moralistic. It often has a religious nature, based on dogmas, on false truths, stigmas,” he said. “Let us stop this prejudice, this moralism that delays the development of this issue at the legislative, and many times clouds the minds of Brazilian judges.”

He did not mention that the issue has clouded both judges and legislators in Brazil, as well as other countries. Everywhere, the issue of patient home-grown cannabis is controversial. This right is what has driven cannabis reform to a federal level forward in many countries, beginning with Canada.

For example in Germany, patients were denied the ability to cultivate their own cannabis almost immediately after it had been granted by a court following legalization of medicinal use. The subsequent failure of the insurers to cover sick people—with a refusal rate that some analysts are putting at about 50% of all claims—makes such legislative changes vital as the country considers further reform.

But Germany isn’t the only place where legal issues are rising.

How Home Grow can be regarded as a seditious idea

One of the largest opponents to home grow is often the burgeoning “legal” cannabis industry. Home grow is not supported by everyone, even those who work in strictly medical settings. Their arguments range from lack of standards to the trickle of such product into the black market and or the “children.”

Although none of the above situations is ideal, abrogation rights for chronically ill persons has been the solution in many jurisdictions.

This is despite the fact that, with Europe’s countries grappling with reforming recreational policy, it seems like this half-step has become relatively secure. It is possible to see Malta, Italy, or Luxembourg. The recreational reform debate currently underway in Germany has yet to answer this burning question.

Human rights are often overlooked by the industry, which means that they can be pushed aside for profit. This is why commercial “rights” are trumping constitutional ones. This is why the right of individuals to grow their own—for either medical or recreational use—remains directly opposed by what is termed “the industry lobby.” This is also why home cultivation of plants, even for medical use, remains a criminal offense in many otherwise legalizing countries.

This is why patients are challenging such laws case-by-case, and not the industry. It isn’t a pleasant experience. Most people do not want to go down in history as “cannabis Gandi” for trying to address the dire consequences of being both sick and poor. This is exactly the kind of situation that every country who refuses to allow patients home grows now places their chronically ill population in.

Changing this often brutal reality is overdue—and on an international level.

Germany will likely apply that same approach to this topic as the next country facing it on a federal basis. After all, as the last government said to then-President Donald Trump when he tried to corner the market on a German-made vaccine for COVID, “There are limits to capitalism.”

The Supreme Court of Justice in Brazil has just reiterated this principle.