Last week, Argentina’s Senate voted unanimously in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. Argentina now joins Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile on South American’s growing list of nations with medical marijuana.
The best part? Anyone who qualifies for medical marijuana in Argentina gets the medicine free of charge. That’s a first of its kind. While Canada and Germany offer health insurance for medical marijuana, I’ve never heard of a country simply giving the stuff away until now.
But before that happens, the Nation’s Ministry of Health must formulate a nationwide list of patients (suffering with diseases like epilepsy and autism) who may receive this medical cannabis.
Sadly, the new bill won’t let Argentinians grow pot at home. That’s still viewed as a crime that can land you in jail for up to 15 years. The government, for now, will handle the weed-growing duties:
The government will oversee cultivation and production of multiple varieties of marijuana-based products for both medical use and research via the National Agency of Public Laboratories. Until the law is fully implemented, the Ministry of Health is permitted to import marijuana products to satisfy demand. [Drug Policy]
It’s unclear where Argentina will import these products from…but perhaps neighboring Uruguay is the early favorite.
Like we recently saw in South Africa, this change in policy was the direct result of citizens demanding change. Argentina’s campaign to legalize came via a petition by 136 families with ill children that need marijuana as medicine.
Up next for Argentina? A full-fledged push for legal marijuana that allows home cultivation.