The Senate unanimously and without previous debate approved a bill legalizing the use of cannabis oil for medical purposes yesterday. The key word in this case is oil, so don’t think about going down the street smoking a joint with a fake doctor’s note saying that you have glaucoma. Not going to work — at least not yet.
The law also kicks off medical and scientific research projects in the area — which will be regulated by the Ministry of Health — and guarantees that the State will provide the oil that will be used by the recipients to treat diseases such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
The Ministry of Health will also be tasked with guaranteeing the supply of the product, either by importing or growing it. As a result of this, it has authorized the Conicet research institute and the National Institute of Agriculture and Livestock Technology to do so. According to Clarín, the oil will be imported from the United States until the Argentina becomes self-sufficient in producing medical grade cannabis oil that meets the standards needed for research and pharmaceutical use.
The individuals and organizations who advocated for the project such as Mamá Cultiva (Mom Grows) — an organization composed of mothers whose kids have diseases that they claime can be treated effectively with cannabis oil and grow their own plants despite it being illegal — celebrated the bill’s passing, but warned that it’s still necessary for Congress to legalize growing the plant for personal use too.
Valeria Salech, president of Mom Grows, told Clarín that in many cases imported oil doesn’t have the same results as the one they produce. As a result, she said, several members of the organization will continue growing their own plants.
Doing this, however, doesn’t come without legal risk. In February, a woman was sentenced to house arrest for growing her own plants, which she used to treat her arthritis. Despite this, members of the different organizations tirelessly fought to get the bill to be passed, often taking their kids who are affected by the mentioned diseases to Congress.
When talking about the law, Victory Front-Justicialist Party (FpV-PJ) Senator Juan Manuel Abal Medina said that “this project seeks to help mothers and fathers in this search for the treatments that will improve or help their kids’ health.”
“The state can’t be indifferent to that pain… it’s important for this law to be put into effect immediately,” he added. This has been the case, roughly 200 families have already been authorized to import the oil.