Argentina’s medical marijuana program is taking shape. What does that mean for growers?
For those who have considered growing cannabis in Argentina, there are new opportunities on the horizon. While progress on the federal level has been slow, many provinces are already partnering with international cannabis companies like Aphria and Green Leaf Farms. However, Argentina’s cannabis regulation is difficult to grasp since provinces and the federal government are not always in alignment. This has lead to a large market for imported cannabis as the nation works to establish its own domestic market for cannabis production.
Medical Marijuana in Argentina
Medical marijuana was legalized in Argentina in 2017, but the previous administration took measures to decrease its accessibility to patients. Epilepsy is one of the most popular conditions that Argentinians are seeking medical cannabis for. Prior to the current government’s expansion of admissibilities, it was the only condition that could qualify a patient for medical marijuana.
Through new legislation and lawsuits, medical cannabis has been expanded to conditions such as pain and other neurological conditions. As of November 2020, the Argentinian government has introduced new legislation to advance medical cannabis production . Argentina now also allows people to grow cannabis at home for medical use, as long as home growers have a license based on their medical needs.
“A decree issued by President Alberto Fernández also allows pharmacies to sell cannabis-derived oils, creams and other products, and it orders public and private insurance systems to cover these medications for patients who obtain a prescription.”-from “Argentina to Allow Medicinal Marijuana to Be Grown at Home”
Licenses to grow cannabis at home are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Third parties may also obtain a license for the purpose of cultivating cannabis on behalf of a medical marijuana patient, similar to some state’s caregiver cannabis policies in the US.
Cannabis Cultivation in Argentina
In the Argentinian medical cannabis system, patients sign up through the Registry for the Cannabis Program (Reprocann). They have the option to get a license to grow their own cannabis, obtain it from someone growing on their behalf (similar to caregiver), or they may obtain cannabis products through pharmacies or other licensed entities. Private, semi-private and public health care providers have to guarantee access to cannabis and subsidize it (for qualifying patients) so it can remain affordable and accessible.
According to Prohibition Partners, the Argentine cannabis market could hit almost $40 million in sales by 2024, growing at a 34% CAGR.-from “Argentina Regulates Medical Cannabis Self-Cultivation, Sales, Subsidized Access”
How to Get Your Cannabis License in Argentina
The Argentina Ministry of Health website explains some of the common questions about cannabis in Argentina . When it comes to who can register a cannabis crop, they explain that a person with a medical indication can enrol in the REPROCANN program. REPROCANN is a database for registering medical marijuana patients who wish to grow their own cannabis. Once approved, a certificate of cultivation is issued by the Ministry of Health. Patients also need an account on the Mi Argentina app to validate their medical condition. So, what about third-party cannabis growers? The patient can assign a third party to cultivate for them by linking themself to the grower in the REPROCANN system.
No much is known about getting your cannabis cultivation license in Argentina . The first step is really to determine which province you plan to operate in. Provinces have some autonomy in regulating cannabis, so while there is a very general national framework, the specific regulations for cannabis growers are to be determined at a provincial level. Two of Argentina’s federal agencies were supposed to produce cannabis for their medical program, but have failed to do so. Imported cannabis products have been used to fill the gap as provinces work to create partnerships with foreign cannabis companies that can bring their products to market sooner than the government. The province Jujuy became the first to start cannabis production in 2019 through their state-owned company Cannava.
If you are going to apply to get a cannabis cultivation license in Argentina, you should be aware of the following governing agencies :
- Ministry of Health
- ANMAT (food, drug, and cosmetic regulation)
- Argentine Seed Institute (INASE)
- National Food Safety and Quality Service (SENASA)
- National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA)
- National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)
- National Agency of Public Laboratories (ANLAP)
- Ministry of Security
- Provincial authorities
Cannabis Regulation in Argentina
The Argentina Ministry of Health is tasked with implementing a national research program on the medical properties of cannabis . They are also responsible for establishing a system to ensure access to medicinal marijuana products. Other key agencies include CONICET (for scientific research), INTA (agriculture), and INASE (seeds and germplasm). The applicable laws and regulations pertaining to cannabis cultivation in Argentina include :
- Medical and Scientific Investigation into the therapeutic use of Cannabis and its derivatives (Law 27,350)
- Decree 738/2017
- Ministry of Health and other ministry resolutions: 1537-E/2017 (Ministry of Health), 258/2018 (Ministry of Security), 59/2019 (INASE), 133/2019 (Ministry of Health), 361/2019 (Ministry of Health)
- Several provincial laws
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Licensing in Argentina
Argentina is second only to Brazil when it comes to cannabis consumption, statistics show . The average annual cannabis use prevalence is 9.1% of a population over 44 million. With approximately 12 million people affected by chronic health conditions, the medical marijuana market in Argentina has huge potential. The challenge companies now face is navigating the regulatory process and establishing a relationship with the Argentinian people.
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GrowerIQ’s seed-to-sale software is a critical system to help you comply with medical marijuana cultivation in Argentina. Our experts can help you create a successful international cannabis venture and strive within any legal framework. To learn more, get in touch with our Cannabis professionals by completing the form below.Speak to a Cannabis Consultant Now
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- Hasse, J. (2020, November 13). Argentina Regulates Medical Cannabis Self-Cultivation, Sales, Subsidized Access. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/javierhasse/2020/11/12/argentina-regulates-medical-cannabis-self-cultivation-sales-subsidized-access/?sh=12d262691655
- Pascual, A. (2019). Cannabis in Latin America: The Regulations and Opportunities. Marijuana Business Daily. Retrieved July 24, 2021, from https://mjbizdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Cannabis-in-Latin-America_The-Regulations-and-Opportunities.pdf
- Politi, D. (2020, November 12). Argentina to Allow Medicinal Marijuana to Be Grown at Home. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/12/world/americas/argentina-cannabis-marijuana.html
- Preguntas frecuentes REPROCANN. (2021, March 31). Retrieved July 28, 2021, from Argentina.gob.ar website: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/salud/cannabis-medicinal/frecuentes
- Rossi, E.I. (2021, April 14). Argentina: Grassroots Efforts and Legislative Advances. Retrieved July 24, 2021, from New Frontier Data website: https://newfrontierdata.com/cannabis-insights/argentina-grassroots-efforts-and-legislative-advances/