On December 5th, Paraguay passed a bill to create a state-sponsored system for marijuana. The bill, passed by Congress, authorizes the importation of marijuana seeds to grow cannabis for medical use. This decision comes just a few months after Paraguay authorized the importation of cannabis oil back in May 2017.
Currently, Paraguay is one of the largest producers and sources of illegal marijuana in the region, with most of its product being trafficked into Brazil and Argentina. Now, Paraguay joins Peru, Chile, Argentina, Columbia and Uruguay as the sixth country in South America to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.
For Roberto Cabanas, the Vice President or Paraguay’s medicinal cannabis organization and father of a little girl with Dravet Syndrome, the bill is life changing. As of right now, his family pays more than $300 a month to import cannabis oil for treatment. Once he’s able to grow his own marijuana, not only will he be able to drastically cut back on his costs, but he’ll have better access to the medication his daughter needs “We are very happy because this will also allow for the import of seeds for oil production,” Cabanas told Reuters.
The new bill is expected to be signed into law by President Horatio Cartes shortly, thanks to support from the Health Ministry. And once it’s signed into law, it will open up new opportunities for cannabis in the country, including the creation of a national research program, which will study current and future applications of medical cannabis.
However, there are still a few logistical requirements that need to take place to turn the bill into law. Cannabis will need to be removed from Paraguay’s list of dangerous drugs, and medical marijuana patients will need to register with the Ministry of Public Health in order to gain a prescription.
Once enacted, medical marijuana in Paraguay will fall under the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare as well as the National Anti-Drug Secretariat.