It’s been eleven years since marijuana was decriminalized in Argentina. Lawmakers in the country have been reluctant in granting the industry a green signal for the longest time now. However, this year Argentina has finally gotten the ball rolling for its industry by announcing the launch of its first-ever cannabis medicine.
Argentina’s National Administration of Drugs, Foods and Medical Devices has recently authorized Laboratorio Alef Medical Argentina to launch Convuidiol. The contract is going to be valid for the next five years. During this period, Alef Medical Argentina will continue to provide high quality and international grade cannabis medicine to the market.
Argentina’s First-Ever Cannabis Medication
Convupidiol is going to embark on its journey as a debutant locally produced cannabis medicine in Argentina. Just like Epidiolex, it is going to be among the very few cannabis-infused drugs that are approved by the FDA. It is expected to reach patients by the start of next year if everything goes according to plan.
Derived from parts of the cannabis plant, each milliliter of the medication will contain around 100 mg of CBD. It will be available in the form of an oral solution and sold in 35 ml bottles. Its inactive ingredients include pharmaceutical-grade sesame oil and a vanilla flavoring for an enhanced taste.
Convupidiol will be used to treat certain types of seizures. It is considered safe for use by children as young as 2 years old. All those above this age are eligible to use the medicine upon approval from certified physicians.
Being the first of its kind type of product in Argentina, Convupidiol is setting the path straight for other similar products. If the legislation shows more flexibility, the market of cannabis and its derivatives can bring a welcoming change in the country’s economy.
Argentina’s Marijuana Laws
It takes a lot of time before legislative changes can take effect and show their impact on the economy. The launch of Convupidiol in Argentina is a classic example that reflects the scenario.
Although the medicinal usage of marijuana was legalized in the country in March of 2017, it took almost four years for the first cannabis medicine to be produced. Ideally, it would have been a great progressive step if productions of cannabis medicine were to start immediately. In contrast to this, sources have claimed that Alef Medical Argentina has yet to obtain approval for its first batch of production.
The move is expected to improve prospects within the cannabis industry but experts believe there is still a long road ahead. According to a report, the local legal cannabis market in Argentina only meets about a fraction of the demand of the population. A majority of these needs are met with imports under a special scheme that allows the ‘compassionate-use’ of medical marijuana products.
“This is a solution for cannabis companies that want to export to individual patients in countries such as Brazil or Argentina but face the logistical and economic impracticality of having to obtain at origin an export permit for each individual shipment,” says Bruno Guella, MD of MVD Free Airport.
Barriers in the industry
The progress of practical steps to relax laws in the cannabis industry has been very slow in Argentina. One of the most historic moves by the government was perhaps a unanimous approval to legalize medicinal usage of cannabis in the country. All 58 senators who were present during the voting session on cannabis legalization favored it.
Although the new laws do permit medical usage of marijuana, only limited strains are qualifiable to pass the legal barrier. Not all cannabis derivatives are permitted to be used, even medicinally. In addition, only a limited number of qualifying medical conditions make a patient eligible to receive treatment through marijuana. This has created many barriers for those outside the list of qualifying conditions to get access to treatment.
In addition to this, cultivation, resale, and production of the plant are strictly prohibited for personal recreational use. Those found committing the crime can be jailed for 15 years on top of paying fines. Only government authorized agencies can permit or process cultivation, production and resale of the drug.
However, the legislature makes a provision for importing certain products.
The costs associated with the import of products have forced many patients to depend on the illicit drug market.