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Medical Cannabis in Brazil Is Coming

Updated 2 weeks ago

Medical cannabis has gained immense popularity around the world. Currently, we see Latin America becoming more lenient with cannabis laws. Uruguay legalized cannabis in 2013. We also discussed how Mexico has already taken steps to legalize marijuana this year. Now, Brazil is stepping up with medical cannabis regulations.

Brazil to legalize medical cannabis

It seems that Brazil has decided to follow the other Latin American countries when it comes to marijuana. Currently, cannabis is illegal in Brazil. According to a Reuters report on December 3, Brazil is ready to approve medical cannabis–based products. Only registered pharmacies in the country would be allowed to sell medicinal marijuana products to patients who have a prescription.

Furthermore, the country’s pharmaceutical regulator, Anvisa, noted that the regulations for medicinal cannabis products would be released in the country’s official gazette over the next few days. Notably, the rules will take 90 days to come into effect.

Although the country would now allow cannabis products, marijuana cultivation is still prohibited. A December 4 Forbes article said that Anvisa rejected a proposal for growing marijuana in the country. However, the cultivation of industrial hemp is allowed in the country but only from a specific company.

Status of medical marijuana in Brazil

Forbes also discussed the current state of medical cannabis in Brazil. Since 2015, Anvisa has permitted medical cannabis products under two kinds of prescriptions:

  • Prescription A for compounds of more than 0.2% THC. This is exclusively available to terminal patients.
  • Prescription B is for all products with less than 0.2% THC.

However, this system of obtaining medical cannabis products is quite expensive.

Khiron excited about Brazil’s stance on medical marijuana

After the announcement by ANVISA, Khiron Life Sciences expressed support for Mexico’s new stance. Andres Galofre, Khiron’s co-founder and Vice President, Business Development, commented, “We congratulate legislators and the health authority in Brazil for their leadership in establishing a legalized environment for medical cannabis in the country. With a population of over 200 million this will directly benefit the health and wellbeing of a significant number of patients in Brazil and affirms our position as a LatAm leader in a rapidly globalizing cannabis market.”

Mexico and Colombia’s stance on cannabis legalization

Drug-related crimes have been a serious issue in Mexico. So, Mexico decided to legalize marijuana this year. With the growing popularity of medical cannabis, Mexico decided to cash in on the medical cannabis business. To learn more about Mexico’s cannabis stance on legalization, please read Cannabis in Mexico: Legalization Bill Is Ready for Voting!

Colombia legalized medical marijuana in 2015, and its medical cannabis business is now thriving. To learn more about Colombia’s cannabis laws, read Why Marijuana Is Thriving in Colombia.

In the United States, marijuana is illegal on a federal level. However, 33 states and Washington, DC, have legalized medical cannabis. Additionally, 11 states and Washington, DC, have legalized adult-use marijuana.

On the recreational cannabis front, Canadian cannabis players have struggled a bit on the revenue side. Notably, black market sales in Canada are thriving. As a result, black market sales are dragging legal cannabis sales down. To learn about this, please read Cannabis Sales Decline Across Canada—Why?

Medical cannabis business booming

However, the medical cannabis business has generated tremendous profits for marijuana companies. In its earnings call for the first quarter of fiscal 2020, Aurora Cannabis (ACB) stated that it grew its medical cannabis.

Notably, Aurora’s net medical marijuana revenue rose 3% quarter-over-quarter to 30 million Canadian dollars. Plus, its international medical cannabis revenue rose by 11% to 5 million Canadian dollars.

Furthermore, Canopy Growth (CGC) (WEED) also stated in its second-quarter earnings call how it profited from its medical cannabis business. Its Canadian medical weed business rose 8% while its international medical weed business rose by 72%.

Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth, Cronos Group (CRON), Aphria (APHA), and Hexo (HEXO) are eager to earn higher revenues and profitability from the next phase of recreational marijuana products in 2020. Canada legalized edibles, beverages, and concentrates in October. Year-to-date, cannabis stocks have suffered.

At 12:46 PM ET today, ACB stock was down 1.6%, while CGC stock was up 0.54%. Meanwhile, Aphria stock was up 0.43%, Cronos Group stock is up 0.46%, and Hexo stock is down 5.4%.

Keep yourself updated on cannabis-related news with 420 Investor Daily.

According to a Reuters report on December 3, Brazil is ready to approve medical cannabis products. Currently, cannabis is illegal in Brazil.

New guidelines approved for medical cannabis in Brazil

This week Brazil approved cannabis guidelines in order to establish a legalised environment for the sale and consumption of cannabis for medical use.

In the announcement by ANVISA, the National Agency for Health Surveillance of Brazil, a new class of medical cannabis products will be prescribed by doctors and sold through pharmacies, enabling safe and legal patient access.

The move is a progressive step forward for a country that has been ravaged by drug violence.

New regulatory framework

The regulatory framework sets a comprehensive procedure for the manufacture and import of these products as well as the requirements for commercialisation, prescription, dispensing, monitoring and supervision of cannabis products for medical purposes.

ANVISA noted that the rules will apply to medicines whose therapeutic indication is restricted to patients with severe and, or, life-threatening debilitating diseases and without alternative therapy.

The medical cannabis resolution was approved unanimously and is valid for an initial three-year term. The approval follows two draft bills put forward earlier this year in June.

Cultivation in Brazil

Before structuring the proposals, a Regulatory Impact Analysis (AIR) study was done to define regulatory options, which pointed out that patient access to cannabis and its derivatives was difficult and that the high cost of treatment may be reduced by national production.

Despite this, ANVISA also blocked a separate proposal this week to allow cultivation of cannabis in Brazil. However, they did approve one company to grow hemp – cannabis with less than 0.3% THC content – in the country, which could open the door for other hemp cultivation applications.

Cannabis in Brazil

The approval will be welcome news for a country that has suffered with decades of drug related violence as it may mean many patients will no longer be turning to the illicit ‘medicine’ market.

Since 2015 ANVISA has allowed for the importation of cannabidiol-based medicines and other cannabinoids for personal use. The country has also allowed the prescription of cannabis products no greater than 0.2% THC since 2015, however, this was only for terminally ill patients or those who have exhausted other treatment options.

ANVISA had to approve imports however this year the country began to allow pharmacy sales. The first licence issued for a cannabis-based medicine was in 2017 and was issue for the cannabis-based oral spray, Sativex, manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals.

The new regulations will be published in the Federal Office Gazette and enter into law 90 days after.

New regulations for have been approved for medical cannabis in Brazil, allowing cannabis products to be prescribed by doctors and sold through pharmacies.