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Panamá Opens the Door to the Legalization of Medicinal Cannabis with a Proposed Law

Policy in Latin America governing medical cannabis use is evolving away from a blanket bar of any cannabis use. A few Central and South America countries allow use of cannabis and oils containing cannabidiol (aka “CBD”) for victims of epilepsy, appetite loss, nausea, chemotherapy-induced vomiting, or HIV/AIDS-associated pain or muscle spasms.

In recent years, some Latin American countries have reformed their controlled substances’ policy. For example, use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes is legal in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Peru. Bolivia’s Constitution recognizes use of the coca leaf. In Uruguay, cannabis use is legal and the government there regulates a free market for cannabis. Colombia has legalized and regulated cannabis production, sales and exportation for medicinal purposes, and the Colombian Ministry of Justice has granted several licenses to grow cannabis without psychoactive effect, which is defined as having content of tetrahydrocannabinol (aka “THC”) below 1% of the product’s dry weight.

In Panama, Bill 595 (the “Bill”) was recently introduced to legalize consumption of liquid marihuana for medicinal purposes. In Panama, cannabis use was declared illegal in 1928, and this drug is not registered as a pharmacology drug in the official list of medications of the Social Security Fund of Panama.

The Bill stems from parental concern for children suffering from epilepsy, and seeks to legalize liquid marijuana consumption for medicinal purposes, and also to stop the smuggling of these products.

The Bill drew no distinction between psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabis. Need for reform.

Article 8 of the Billdefines cannabis as:

“Cannabis sativa, cannabidiol or marijuana is a species of herb of the family Cannabaceae. It is a perennial plant, dioecious, and originating from the Himalayan mountain ranges in Asia.”

Unlike the laws of Colombia and other Latin American countries, this definition does not differentiate between non-psychoactive and psychoactive cannabis.

This definition could affect manufacturers and sellers of non-psychoactive hemp oils, and could have major adverse implications for the free market of food products containing CBD oil, currently legalized.

The National Assembly has the power to amend the Bill before it passes into law.

Panamá Opens the Door to the Legalization of Medicinal Cannabis with a Proposed Law Policy in Latin America governing medical cannabis use is evolving away from a blanket bar of any cannabis use.

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What you missed in Latin American Cannabis this week

Latin America has the potential to be one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the world.

In addition to foreign investments, new legislation, and special cultivation licenses, here are some stories you might have missed about cannabis in Latin America this week.

Argentinian engineers develop cannabis extractor

In February, the Faculty of Design and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires unveiled a prototype design of a medicinal cannabis oil extractor called Nectar.

Panamá opens the door to the legalization of medicinal cannabis with a proposed law

Policy in Latin America governing medical cannabis use is evolving away from a blanket bar of any cannabis use. A few Central and South America countries allow use of cannabis and oils containing cannabidiol (aka “CBD”) for victims of epilepsy, appetite loss, nausea, chemotherapy-induced vomiting, or HIV/AIDS-associated pain or muscle spasms.

In recent years, some Latin American countries have reformed their controlled substances’ policy. For example, use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes is legal in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Peru. Bolivia’s Constitution recognizes use of the coca leaf.

Panama Denies Approval of Marijuana for Medicinal Use

On social media, an image on the alleged enactment of Law 14 of May 19, 2016 is circulating, which regulates the activities and use of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes and in which allegedly the use of medicinal marijuana is approved in Panama.

Bernie Sanders Sort of Saw This Whole Panama Papers Thing Coming

With the Panama Papers’ revelations of transnational financial skulduggery now burning up the Internet, Bernie Sanders’ many fans have started passing around a video of a fairly prescient speech the presidential candidate delivered back in 2011. At the time, the U.S. was considering a free trade agreement with the charming Latin America tax haven, supported by President Obama and his then–secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. But progressive activists argued that the deal would only make it harder for the U.S. government to deal with bank secrecy and tax avoidance. Sanders brought those concerns to the Senate floor:

Drug interdictions result in a loss of about $8 billion in revenue for drug traffickers

On June 12, crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Vigilant offloaded 3,100 pounds of marijuana seized from a go-fast boat intercepted in the Caribbean Sea.

The story on how Coast Guard personnel seized the marijuana in late May in waters between Panama and the Colombian island of San Andrés emerged last week in Miami federal court records.

According to a criminal complaint filed by a special agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the action unfolded May 27 when a go-fast vessel was spotted traveling in international waters about 100 miles south of San Andrés Island, a Colombian possession east of Nicaragua and north of Panama.

Will legalizing pot affect violence in Latin America?

The debate of whether or not to legalize marijuana in the U.S. is not just a national one, Latin American leaders are weighing in on it too.

That’s because U.S. marijuana consumption drives drug violence in their countries. Armed Honduran military police escort us to the most dangerous neighborhood in San Pedro Sula, a city dubbed the “murder capital of the world.”

The gang comes in and charges every resident a war tax they call it, it’s simply extortion. Painful choices for residents: Pay the phony tax, leave or face the wrath of the gangs.

Similar fears haunt communities in other Latin American countries also plagued by violent criminal gangs, whose power is connected to the drug trade.

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