Brazil Sees Exponential Increase in Medical Cannabis Authorizations
As marijuana reform continues to blitz through South America, questions about marijuana – from medical access to legalization – are on the minds of voters and politicians alike.
We already know how South America is quickly mobilizing to be a cannabis powerhouse on the world stage, but often forget how the industry continues to grow domestically. Brazil is one example of cannabis consumption taking off in unprecedented numbers.
In fact, Marijuana Business Daily reports that the number of medical cannabis authorizations in the country surpassed 10,000 since the program’s launch in 2014. Eligible recipients can import a fixed amount of cannabis every year, at which point the prescription would require renewal.
While the law currently only allows for CBD products to be imported by licensed patients with severe epilepsy, this could soon change.
The THC Controversy
In early August, we reported a story about how Brazil’s health and safety watchdog, ANVISA, approved two draft resolutions that could – if approved – lead to the legalization of domestically-cultivated cannabis. Unlike the status quo, ANVISA will allow for THC strain cultivation.
Countries like Canada, Uruguay, Israel, Australia and several European nations all want to throw their hats in Brazil’s proverbial ring.
But given that CBD is the only legal cannabis product allowed, ANVSA’s desire to include THC strains is a huge leap that leaves many people uneasy.
Another point of contention was that ANVISA wanted to expedite the registration process and approve the rollout without completing clinical research. To some, this comes across as rather reckless.
Nonetheless, the department’s public forum was mostly positive. According to Marijuana Business Daily:
“After taking feedback about the proposals through Aug. 19, ANVISA on Tuesday announced it received a total of 1,554 comments. A final decision is expected by the end of October. About two-thirds of the contributions considered that ANVISA’s proposals would have a positive impact. More than 60% of the participants identified themselves as ‘citizens or consumers,’ the agency said in its announcement.
Unlike cannabis reform measures in places like Canada, Europe and some U.S. states, federal opposition to ANVISA’s plan is fierce, with notable political figures voicing concerns.
Minister of Citizenship Osmar Terra was very open and vocal in his opposition to ANVISA.
But interestingly enough, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro also opposes ANVISA’s measure. Marijuana Business Daily explains:
“According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Bolsonaro said he shares Osmar Terra’s position. Terra, the country’s minister of citizenship, has been the government’s most vocal, high-level authority against ANVISA’s plans. Bolsonaro also said he’d be willing to have a conversation about ANVISA’s proposals with the agency’s president, William Dib.”
But Bolsonaro apparently has no control over ANVISA, which he feels has too much power. The president emphasized in a later interview that he had no desire to “legalize” drugs and did not want that to be his legacy.
WeedAdvisor’s High Hopes for Brazilian Medical Cannabis
The fate of Brazil’s domestic cultivation and THC cannabis is still yet to be determined. But if popular support is any indication, the outlook seems to be in the industry’s favour.
If approved, Brazil could see an influx of companies from around the globe. Of course, setting up shop in a foreign country means comes with challanges. Functions like compliance, inventory tracking, reporting and real-time data collection are just a few things WeedAdvisor’s business solutions platforms off for retailers, licensed producers and government agencies.
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