Cannabis in Argentina

Argentines can now register for an exception that allows them to grow, transport, and consume cannabis legally. The same provisions also extend to buying cannabis seeds locally, provided the specific varieties meet the country’s updated framework.

Although renowned for its steaks, fine wines, legendary footballers, and current Pope Francis- Argentina is also the second largest country in South America. It’s impressively socially liberal policies; being the second country in The Americas to legalize gay marriage over a decade ago- with close to 50% of Argentines remaining supportive of abortion legalization in 2020. These statistics are even more impressive considering that 80%of people living there identify as Catholic.

Argentina is now one of the more cannabis-forward countries; as of 2021, it has legalized cultivation and possession for registered individuals. You can purchase seeds with ease too, so long as you meet the qualifications set by the National Cannabis Registry and National Seed Institute. Continue reading to learn more about legal weed in Argentina.

2022 – A Year for Change

Since 2022, Argentina’s legal cannabis industry has undergone significant changes. A few approved cannabis seeds are now legal to purchase, and the National Cannabis Registry is up and running. Consequently, the country is slowly beginning to accept this green revolution. However, it wasn’t always like this; the first major steps toward legalizing cannabis were taken more than two years ago.

2020 was a crucial year for Argentine cannabis users, as the government published a draft of new regulations on July 15th. These proposed changes included allowing registered patients to grow their own cannabis at home, implementing a framework for public production and sale of medical cannabis products, and giving free public access to cannabis-based therapies. The government soon began taking action on some of these proposals.

A year after its conception, REPROCANN- (Registro Nacional del Programa de Cannabis) Argentina’s national cannabis registry- allowed individuals, health professionals, and non-government organizations to register. By being registered with the program, these cultivators are now legally able to possess and consume cannabis. Although there are three primary ways to access REPROCANN in Argentina

  • If you want to grow cannabis for your own personal use, you need to be evaluated by a medical professional, who will then file the necessary paperwork on your behalf so that you are allowed to grow, possess, and use cannabis for medical purposes.
  • I grow cannabis for another registered patient.

We are an NGO that cultivates cannabis for our patients.

Buying cannabis seeds legally in Argentina

The recent legalization of cannabis seeds in Argentina has made it possible for people to purchase them without the need for documentation. This is a significant step forward, as it allows people to cultivate and consume cannabis legally.

Unless people have registered with the cannabis registry, it is still a criminal offence to possess or plant cannabis seeds.

However, things become challenging with the various types of seeds that are available for purchase; these must be registered with INASE (National Seed Institue). Luckily, registration only needs to happen annually. An additional perk is that cannabinoid content isn’t regulated by law, so the Argentinian cannabis industry welcomes all seed strains- including high THC and CBD contents.

Currently, there are four types of cannabis that have been approved, with 77 more under review. This is a great step forward for medical programs and research as it removes the need to import seeds from other countries. These provisions will also extend to grow shops, who only need to meet a few basic requirements in order to sell the approved seed types.

How Does Argentina’s Cannabis Program Work?

Argentina’s REPROCANN has many aspects that make it different from other medical cannabis programs globally, most pressingly the lack of a list of qualifying conditions.

In contrast, patients can register any use of cannabis they consider therapeutic. For example, this is quite a strong contrast to other medicinal cannabis programs like those in place in certain US states, which only consider patients with serious illnesses such as cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS or PTSD. Some common therapeutic uses of cannabis that Argentine patients list in their REPROCANN applications include:

  • Sleep improvements
  • Relief from generalized anxiety and stress
  • Improved appetite
  • Mild pain management

Furthermore, Argentina’s REPROCANN permits patients to grow and possess large amounts of cannabis. For instance, people registered in REPROCANN are allowed to cultivate nine flowering plants and an unrestricted number of vegetating plants indoors (in a cultivation space no bigger than 6m2) as well as outdoors (in an area no greater than 15m2).

Individual patients can possess up to 40g of dried cannabis flowers in public or 6 30ml bottles of tincture/extract. There is no limit on how much cannabis a patient can have kept at home. However, registered NGOs are only allowed to grow 9 plants per patient for a maximum of 150 patients total.

As we have stated before, at REPROCANN we do not discriminate against any type of cannabis a patient may want to possess or grow. So, all strains and types of cannabis are available to our patients, including high CBD and high THC strains.

 

What other benefits are there to REPROCANN in Argentina?

In addition to being able to cultivate and own cannabis legally, REPROCANN patients can also:

  • Transport cannabis on flights or other modes of transport across Argentina.
  • If somebody robs a dispensary of their inventory, then they should face legal consequences.
  • You can obtain prescriptions for cannabis or any of its derivatives from public health professionals.

What Are the Downfalls of Argentina’s REPROCANN?

Although Argentina’s REPROCANN is far from perfect, it at least covers the therapeutic use of cannabis. Cannabis is still illegal in Argentina, and getting caught with plants or whatever a police officer considers a “large amount” of cannabis in public can get you arrested and sentenced to a court hearing.

A common issue people have with Argentina’s REPROCANN program is that possessing and using cannabis extracts and edibles, like hash, isn’t mentioned in the guidelines. While there are no restrictions on how patients can consume cannabis under the REPROCANN program, only plants, dried flowers, or liquid tinctures are ever acknowledged.

A significant issue with Argentina’s REPROCANN program is that law enforcement has not been properly informed about the existence of the program and the legal rights it offers patients. To this day, registered REPROCANN patients who are caught transporting or growing cannabis by law enforcement officials are often arrested even though they have a legal right to do so.

What Was Argentina’s Stance on Cannabis Before REPROCANN?

Argentina is renowned for its cannabis culture, with many of its citizens consuming it regularly – especially the youth. To simplify things, before REPROCANN was established, Argentina’s cannabis laws were quite murky.

Cannabis is a controlled substance under Argentine law, and producing, selling, or possessing cannabis can lead to up to 14 years in jail. However, in 2009, an important Supreme Court ruling declared it unconstitutional to penalize the possession of drugs for personal consumption.

More specifically, the Supreme Court ruled that the personal consumption of drugs in private is protected by article 19 of Argentina’s constitution, which reads: “The private actions of men that in no way offend public order and morals or harm a third party are only reserved to God, and exempt from the authority of magistrates.” Unfortunately, the Arriola Ruling (now known as the Arriola Failure) failed to produce any legislative changes to Argentina’s drug laws.

Prior to 2021, though there were a few attempts, not much progress was made in changing Argentina’s perspective on cannabis. However, this began to change in 2017 when the country passed bill 27.350, which established some legal frameworks surrounding therapeutic cannabis use.

For many years, the law only applied to individuals who had rare, stubborn cases of epilepsy and was restricted to treatments using Charlotte’s Web brand tinctures (which patients needed to bring into the country from another area and pay taxes that could be up 50% on).

Not only did REPROCANN spawn Argentina’s government to announce potential changes to their federal laws on the industrial use of cannabis and hemp, but in May 2022 as well. Although we don’t yet know the specifics of these bills, the government is very optimistic about finally welcoming a legal cannabis industry which could have amazing economic implications.

Cannabis in Argentina: A Space of Constant Growth

Recently, Argentinian federal law has become more lenient regarding cannabis accessibility for various purposes. This shift in policy reflects the drug’s significant cultural presence and medical utility.

Although cannabis is still highly regulated in Argentina and people who want to access the plant have to register as patients, there have been some changes worth celebrating in recent years. Here’s hoping that Argentina will continue to set an example for liberal policy as time goes on.

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