Player’s Network signs Argentinian joint venture, prompting medical cannabis advocates to push for home cultivation
Until now, Argentina has been a legal cannabis country with almost no legally grown cannabis.
The country legalized medicinal cannabis in 2017 after a successful campaign by Mama Cultiva Argentina, a coalition of mothers whose children use CBD oil to treat seizures and other debilitating diseases. The law guarantees CBD oil access to medical patients but left out provisions for robust state cultivation or any home growth leaving many patients to turn to the black market or illegally cultivate their own supply, which has a max sentence of 15 years in prison.
Since legalization, CBD oil in Argentina is imported with only a small cannabis crop cultivated, for use in hospital studies. Mama Cultiva has continued to support a Safe Cultivation Law producing a manifesto stating, “Today, thousands of people risk their liberty in search of autonomy over their health, turning to the black market to manage their pain. We want the legislation to be fulfilled.”
The Argentinian medical cannabis law gives the state control of all forms of cultivation, extraction, and regulation. Mama Cultiva’s manifesto argues that the state has not made transparent information about quantities and distribution to patients, leaving the full scope of the law unfulfilled.
Their advocacy has slowly paid off. In November 2018, almost a year after the legislation passed, the government created an organization, Cannabis Avatara State Society, or Cannava SE, with the mission to cultivate cannabis for medicinal use on 15 hectares of public land, the largest such plot in the world.
Due to the lack of production facilities, CBD has been imported to Argentina with one hundred milliliters of CBD oil costing nearly four times what the average Argentinian makes in one month.
This week in Las Vegas, Player’s Network, Inc. (OTCQB:PNTV), a Nevada based integrated cannabis company, officially announced their partnership with Cannava SE to cultivate cannabis on the 15 hectares, a deal which was three months in the making.
Security concerns holding up cultivation
Mama Cultiva, who has condemned the holdup, highlights similar concerns as the national government is starting cannabis cultivation: security.
The mothers’ manifesto indicates that despite intervention from the National Security Agency that, “rumors about the exploitation of crops in the Juyjuy province,” further limit the medications’ successful distribution to the detriment of those in need.
To combat security concerns, the agreement between Players Network and Cannava SE was signed only after an intensive risk analysis was cultivated.
This week’s announcement indicates the success of that stage of the agreement.
Mark Bradley CEO of Players Network stated in a press release, “receiving security approval and the approval to import Cannabis seeds for the first time in the history Argentina was not an easy undertaking...With the help of the government, we installed the security system and adaptation of a jointly created security protocol and infrastructure in lightning speed.”
Positive market openings in Argentina but still a ways to go.
Unlike many other countries who are welcoming three or more firms to take part in the medical cannabis market, so far, the Argentinian government has only worked with Players Network and Aphria, the latter partnership still being in latent stages.
A state and private partnership allow the Argentinian government to control cannabis growth and distribution more closely. Players Network will not only be cultivating the largest cannabis farm in the world, but the deal outlines incremental rollouts for planting, testing, and recycling of the excess hemp into textiles, rope, fuel, and more.
The mothers of Mama Cultiva have a lot to look forward to with this deal but have thus far denounced the lack of transparency for medical patients.
In an interview with BigBang! the president of Mama Cultiva, Valeria Salech, indicated neither Players Network or Juyjuy had presented information about when new CBD oil will reach the medical market, prolonging the limited supply and access.
Mama Cultiva remains staunchly in favor of deregulating self-cultivation, stating that if an international company can grow cannabis, a woman with a few plants in her home for the health of her child should also be safe.
In early January, the bill for safe home-grown cultivation was presented to the Argentine Senate Health Committee for review.
Players Network is set to begin cultivation in March. Their stock fell on Friday by 7.69 percent ending the day at .30 per share.