Wednesday, February 21, 2024

ARGENTINA | 06-03-2021 09:11

Medical cannabis: Fernández proposes new bill to develop industry

National government and pharmaceuticals sector have agreed to invest millions of dollars in the production of medical cannabis, says president.

In last Monday’s state-of-the-nation speech President Fernández announced a bill to develop Argentina’s medical cannabis industry. Multi-million investments have already been agreed with laboratories. 

The Peronist leader ratified the government’s idea of going ahead with a productive agenda for medical cannabis at the local level, affirming that his administration will push a law contemplating its industrialisation.

"Cannabis has highly useful properties for medical and industrial ends. The global industry for medical cannabis will treble its turnover in the next five years. The bill provides for its cultivation exclusively for medical and industrial use," he said.

Within that framework the national government and the pharmaceuticals sector have agreed to invest millions of dollars in the production of medical cannabis under the knowledge industry and health chapters of the Socio-Economic Council.

Last month the government announced that it would be investing 350 million pesos in research and development towards the local elaboration of cannabis for medical use via the National Programme PRODUCIR+ SALUD. 

The CILFA pharmaceuticals sector (including the local laboratories Bagó, Roemmers, Temis Lostaló among others) joined this announcement with a pledge to invest US$120 million this year and next while their international CAEME counterpart (Sanofi, Bayer and 39 other companies) agreed to inject US$300 million this year. 

According to international consultant María Laura Sandoval, a specialist who advises in this area, Argentina has a vast pharmaceutical potential to promote the local development of medical cannabis.

"We have pharmaceutical labs in Argentina which are in the vanguard in Latin America and other continents too," she told Perfil.

Sandoval describes Argentina’s pharmaceutical sector as one of the strengths permitting the development of medical cannabis.

“Many policies of the current government are geared to the pharmaceutical research area, thus greatly promoting innovation and development and placing a foot in the global pharma-cannabis market,” the local representative of the Asociación Latinoamericana de Cáñamo (LAIHA) told the newspaper.

The current scenario

Last year Frente de Todos deputy (CABA) Mara Brawer presented a bill to develop the hemp industry, dividing the uses into textiles, cosmetics and food. Following this week’s announcement by President Fernández, the government will be unifying this bill to promote the domestic production of various areas of cannabis and hemp under the mantle of the Productive Development and Health Ministries.

"I try not to talk numbers because we are in an extremely initial phase so that people can get to know the cultivation, regulations and so on. The relationship between Argentines and the cannabis market is still highly platonic because we are only just starting. It will be tough," said Sandoval.

Despite trying to avoid numbers, she did pass on the report of a United States consultancy which calculated that Argentina could be earning a billion dollars in the hemp/cannabis area in two years’ time, while the president’s state-of-the-nation speech last Monday spoke of a trebled market within five years.

But first the country must draw up all the laws and frameworks possible so that the development can take off as the next advance in the cannabis agenda. 


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