Brazil has become the third Latin American country to regulate the sale of medical marijuana after Uruguay and Colombia. Mexico could soon follow the trend.
On Tuesday, ANVISA (the National Agency for Health Supervision) announced it has unanimously approved the regulation of medical marijuana to be sold at pharmacies and drugstores nationwide. Brazil is Latin America’s biggest and most-populated country, with over 210 million inhabitants. The measure will become effective in 90 days, with regulation details to be published through the National Gazette shortly.
A few hours after this move, a section of the Judicial Power issued a local industrial hemp seeds import and cultivation permit for Schoenmaker Humako Agri-Floricultura, owned by Terra Viva group.
A New Opportunity For Patients
Medical marijuana use was allowed in Brazil in 2015, but until now, patients were only able to obtain imported medical products with strict authorization of ANVISA. New “cannabis-based” products are expected to hit shelves by the first half of 2020.
For the time being, commercial cannabis cultivation isn't allowed in Brazil. However, home growing and posession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use are decriminalized.
Manufacturers must import the semi-elaborate product and can only work after receiving a special certificate from ANVISA. Full plant imports are still not allowed.
Both CBD and THC products will be available at pharmacies. CBD products, and those containing less than 0.2% of THC can be prescribed normally. Products with 0.2% THC or more can only be prescribed to terminal patients or in such cases where patients don’t respond to traditional treatment.
"Achieving a cannabis regulation through [ANVISA] could mean that Brazil becomes a key player in the Latin American cannabis market, not only because of its geographical and climatic diversity but also for how significant the market would be within the Brazilian population,” said Silvia Muñoz, a cannabis industry insider and Responsible for Government Affairs LATAM in the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute in Czech Republic.
Adding to these comments, Caroline Heinz, vice president of HempMeds Brasil explained, "These new regulations to allow the roll-out of cannabis products in pharmacies and drugstores create a new category of medicinal cannabis products in Brazil. This change will allow patients almost immediate access to CBD products – a huge difference from today where the process takes three months. The approximate four million patients in Brazil can benefit from medical cannabis much easier with the ability to visit their doctor's office and go directly to a pharmacy. We hope that this will encourage more people to see how cannabis could help improve their health and wellness."
Featured image by Raphael Nogueira on Unsplash.
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