Over the last few years, cannabis products have been an incredibly explosive market in the United States. We often think about America as being extraordinarily progressive and liberal in terms of how people use cannabis. Still, we often neglect other countries that have made massive strides in legalizing cannabis use. One of these countries is Argentina, which decriminalized the use of cannabis in small amounts in 2009. This legalization was long before the 2018 Farm Bill and other laws that make cannabis much more accessible in America.
While cannabis has not yet been fully legalized for recreational purposes in Argentina, a critical court case resulted in what was called the Arriola decision. This decision occurred following a court case in which five people were arrested because they had small amounts of marijuana. In this case, it was determined that possessing small amounts of cannabis should be decriminalized if it’s only meant for personal use, doesn’t present any risk of danger, and can’t hurt anyone else.
The court also determined that if you are a consenting adult, you should be able to make your own decisions regarding your lifestyle without the state intervening. While CBD was also decriminalized as part of this case, it is still not legal for recreational use, and you must be part of a registered program to use it.
In terms of medical cannabis use, Argentina is also very liberal. The Argentinian government legalized medical cannabis in 2017 for those who were willing to register onto a national patient program. The Ministry of Health organized this program, and it even promised that participants would have free access to medical cannabis if they were approved patients. This program encompassed both adults and children.
The national program provides medical cannabis oils to those who qualify as patients, as that is the only way to access medical cannabis at this time legally. According to Argentinian law, you can receive this cannabis oil for free if you have a condition that requires you to take it. The major plans for the program were being determined in the summer of 2018, with the idea being that the oil would be distributed to hospitals throughout the country for clinical trials.
One of the primary reasons why these changes were able to happen in Argentina was due to the work of a grassroots organization called Mama Cultiva. Mama Cultiva is made up of a group of mothers from all around South America, many of whom have children who are extremely sick. Many of these children have been diagnosed with conditions like cancer, autism, or epilepsy and have not been able to find the relief they need in traditional pharmaceuticals.
Their mothers have seen the impact of cannabis as medicine for children and aim to relax the laws surrounding both using and growing cannabis as medicine. One of Mama Cultiva’s main goals is to implement legislation that allows for the personal growth of marijuana to be used as medicine.
While offering free cannabis medicine to those on their program is a massive step in the right direction, it only includes very severe conditions. Many Argentinians hope that in the future, more illnesses will be encompassed in this plan to provide patients with free cannabis oil. It’s clear that Argentina certainly cares for its people and its patients, and hopefully, more countries can follow in their footsteps with similar programs in the future.