Argentina gave final legislative approval, 2 weeks ago, to a bill legalizing cannabis oil for medicinal use and permitting the federal government to grow marijuana for research and therapeutic purposes.
The measure will become law once it is signed by President Mauricio Macri, whose Cambiemos party sponsored the bill.
“Thirty percent of epileptics do not respond to traditional medicine,” medical doctor Ana María García Nicora, who heads the Medical Cannabis Argentina group, told local television after the Senate’s final vote on the measure.
“My daughter has had epilepsy for 24 years and this is an option for her,” she said.
Chile and Colombia have adopted similar laws and neighboring Uruguay has gone as far as to legalize smoking marijuana, seeking to wrest the business from criminals in the small South American nation.
A bill approving the use of cannabis oil is pending in Peru’s Congress. In January, healthcare regulators in Brazil issued the country’s first license for sale of an oral spray derived from marijuana used to treat multiple sclerosis.
Other countries following along
Argentina isn’t the only Latin American country to recently changed its tune on cannabis. Uruguay became the first country to completely legalize recreational use and cultivation back in 2013, one year after a two of U.S. states voted to legalize the herb. A bill that would legalize medical cannabis oil is pending in Peru.
Brazil has recently had some medical cannabis triumphs. In January of 2017, the country issued its first license to sell a cannabis-based pharmaceutical drug, a mouth spray for multiple sclerosis patients. One doctor has also become to the first to treat an Alzheimer’s patient with a high-CBD cannabis extract derived from hemp.
Mexico decriminalized the personal cultivation and use of cannabis in 2015, after 4 out of 5 judges declared that denying access to cannabis violated the human right to the free development of individual personality.
Colombia and Chile have adopted similar medical cannabis laws to Argentina. While only one country a few U.S. states have fully legalized recreational cannabis, countries all over the world are slowly beginning to open up to the plant.
Federal governments in several European countries, such as Romania, Croatia, Macedonia, Ireland, and Germany have limited medical cannabis programs. Activists in Britain are continuing to push for cannabis reform, and the conversations are quite serious.
Five years ago, prior to recreational legalization in the United States, few countries were seriously engaging the idea of cannabis form.
Now, after a wealth of amazing anecdotal and preclinical evidence on the plant’s medical value have made mainstream media, cannabis reform is gaining more momentum than ever.
With so many places opening up to medical cannabis, now is the time for activists all over the world to lean in and push for substantial reform.