Panama's National Assembly approves medical cannabis bill
Bill 153 is at a signing of its entry into force. A unanimous vote from the Panama National Assembly is changing the course of cannabis. Indeed, the country is on the way to becoming the first in Central America to regulate medical use.
Monday, the Bill 153, which proposes a regulatory framework for the scientific and medical use of cannabis and its derivatives, was adopted by 44 lawmakers during the third debate on the legislation.
The law aims to regulate the processes governing the import, export, cultivation, production, manufacture and supply of the herb. It will also regulate seeds and derivatives of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes.
Panama will allow cannabis-based drugs in the form of capsules or sublingual drops sold in pharmacies determined by the Ministry of Health. Personal cultivation for medical purposes is not included in the bill.
The law recognizes the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, such as treating epilepsy and managing pain.
In a statement, the National Assembly says the bill is the culmination of a five-year patient-led fight for reform. It is a great success for patients who have obtained the relief they deserve, National Assembly President Crispiano Adames said in the statement.
By law, patient access to cannabis will be guaranteed and controlled through the creation of a patient registry.
To promote research and public education campaigns in Panama, a national program to study the medical use of cannabis will be established by the Ministry of Health, which will also establish a Cannabis Technical Council.
This council will be composed of two representatives of organizations of patients with chronic degenerative diseases and one representative of a medical cannabis research organization, as well as other ministers and government officials.
The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Security will be responsible for issuing the licenses.
“Regarding the importation of medicinal cannabis derivatives to license holders, a validity of two years has been determined from the date of approval of the license and can only be granted to supply patients in the program. 'use of cannabis and the national market during this period,' reads the declaration of the national assembly.
“The initiative strictly prohibits the marketing of medicinal cannabis products at home or through the Internet in the country. "
Last year, the cannabis bill passed the first debate but did not go any further due to the pandemic. In March, legislation was revived in Panama and passed the second debate last week. It remains only for President Laurentino Cortizo to sign the bill before it becomes law.