By / June 4, 2021

Cannabis Industry Project In Argentine: Government Presents A Plan

The Argentine Government will present a bill to provide a regulatory framework for the development of an industrial and medical cannabis industry. After months of work by the technical teams of the Frente de Todos, the scheme outlining one of the productive pillars of the future will be unveiled.

The meeting will take place within the framework of the Economic and Social Council and will start at 5 pm at the Bicentennial Museum. The Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas, will present the cannabis industry bill before counselors, academics, legislators, sector referents and governors.

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Building A Framework For Argentina’s Cannabis Industry

The objective of the law is to provide a regulatory framework for the development of the industrial and medical cannabis industry. In the text, it is foreseen that cooperatives of the sector and SMEs will have an important space to promote the development of the activity that promises to add exports and create jobs. After the official presentation, the initiative will be sent to Congress for legislative debate.

The new cannabis industry bill still has to pass Argentina's congress.
The new cannabis industry bill still has to pass Argentina’s congress. Image by Boris G via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The text designed in the offices of the Ministry of Productive Development is inspired by ideas expressed by the national deputy of Frente de Todos Mara Brawer and the national senator Anabel Fernández Sagasti. Already in early March, during the opening of legislative sessions, President Alberto Fernández himself was the one who slipped that one of the objectives of this year was the enactment of the law.

The regulatory framework implemented in 2017 for the medical cannabis industry was so restrictive that it gave almost no room for the emergence of productive ventures, with the exception of the Jujuy-based company Cannava. However, there are a number of projects, with varying degrees of maturity, that could be developed if reforms are adopted to make the current regulatory scheme more flexible.

A New Industrial Cannabis Model

Worldwide, the move towards the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis has generated great interest not only among academics, policy makers, and civil society representatives, but also among investors and entrepreneurs looking for opportunities in the cannabis industry. Although the growth rate of the medical cannabis industry has been below the expectations generated a few years ago, there is still an upward trend driven by the growing number of countries that are allowing its use for the treatment of various pathologies, as well as the progressive loss of stigma and social prejudice regarding its use.

However, expansion opportunities for the cannabis industry are not limited to the medicinal and recreational market. Cannabis can be used for industrial and horticultural purposes, to manufacture various derivatives (fibers, cosmetics, paper, construction materials, etc.), as well as food, beverages, and infusions. In addition, the cannabis industry generates indirect effects not only through the purchase of inputs and capital goods for its different stages and segments, but also through the need, for example, for analysis and testing services to guarantee quality, traceability, composition, and to identify the potential of raw material and derivatives.

The most immediate opportunities for Argentina’s cannabis industry would be in the medicinal area–both with products under prescription and eventually others that may be authorized for sale, such as dietary supplements or other variants–and would be concentrated in the domestic market and in countries of the region. The avenue that may present a window of opportunity is associated with hemp (plants with very low psychoactive components), from which a wide range of derivatives can be obtained. This is precisely what the bill regulates.

Which Entities Will Be Involved In The Control Of The Cannabis Industry?

The bill proposes the creation of a specialized Agency, called the Regulatory Agency of the Hemp and Medical Cannabis Industry (ARICCAME), whose objective is to control, supervise and monitor production. ARICCAME will be composed of representatives of several ministries in addition to the Ministry of Productive Development: Health, Agriculture, Science and Technology and several others.

The entity must coordinate with all the relevant entities of the chain to guarantee the agility of cannabis industry procedures in a sector that is intensive in regulations. Therefore, it will have a direct relationship with ANMAT, INASE, BCRA, among others, to move forward with all the necessary regulations, so that the procedures move forward in due time and form and the spirit of the law, which is the development of this productive chain, can be fulfilled.


(Featured image by Rick Proctor via Unsplash)

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First published in El Destape, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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