Argentine Congress Passes Bill Regulating Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Industry
On Thursday, May 5, 2022, the Chambers of Deputies of the Argentine Congress passed the Law Regulating the Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Industry (hereinafter referred to as the "Law").
The objective of the law is to establish a regulatory framework for the cultivation, production, distribution and marketing of cannabis, its seeds and its derivatives intended for medicinal and industrial use.
The Law complements Law No. 27.350 of 2017 which established a regulatory framework for the scientific and medicinal research of cannabis and approved its medicinal use in the Argentine Republic.
The law grants licenses to each segment of the production chain and establishes the legal formalities for granting them. It also establishes the control mechanisms to be exercised over license holders.
To do this, the Agency for the Hemp and Medical Cannabis Industry (ARICCAME) has been created, which will be the directing and organizing body of the production chain and which will oversee the multiple regulatory bodies involved. ARICCAME will be able to create regional and provincial delegations in order to guarantee the rapid application of this new law throughout the territory.
The main functions of ARICCAME are:
- Regulate the import, export, cultivation, industrial production, manufacture, marketing and acquisition of cannabis and its seeds and derivatives.
- Control the storage, transport and distribution of cannabis seeds and plants in collaboration with other public bodies.
- Establish regulatory standards for best practices in planting and cultivation with the aim of coinciding with relevant international cannabis industry regulations.
- Inspect grower facilities to ensure they have been properly licensed and meet regulatory standards.
Specific rules providing for traceability will be promulgated by the National Institute of Seeds (INASE), a body regulating the production and circulation of seeds under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture.
In order to achieve the law's objective of promoting the scientific study of cannabis, ARICCAME will establish joint research programs with public universities and national and provincial science and technology organizations.
The law also creates the Federal Council for the Development of the Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis Industry. Its members will be made up of one representative from each province of Argentina, one representative from the city of Buenos Aires and one representative from the country as a whole.
The council will meet monthly to develop regulations and advise ARICCAME on how best to move the industry forward. It will also propose criteria for the distribution and granting of licenses and authorizations to new producers. These authorizations are based on an administrative element and an operational element.
To ensure compliance with its regulations, the law creates a system of sanctions to penalize non-compliance. Sanctions are established on a scale: the least serious consequence is a warning and the most severe is a total ban on practicing for a certain period. Other penalties may include fines and suspension or expiration of authorization.