This week in Latin America

Aphria works with Argentine children’s hospital to collaborate on CBD treatments for refractory epilepsy

Marijuana has historically received the most severe classification in drug addiction and danger rankings. This classification prevented scientists and governments from scientifically evaluating potential uses for medicinal and therapeutic use.

Today, when countries are rapid-fire deregulating medical marijuana policy, moving the drug away from this dangerous classification, medical research is now not only possible but necessary.

For Argentina, medical research is essential to building scientifically based medical deregulation legislation.

[Argentina continues to deregulate cannabis for industrial purposes only]

In October 2018 the government permitted Aphria, Inc. (TSX: APH) (USOTC:APHQF) and its Argentine partner, ABP, S.A. to import CBD oil samples to Hospital de Pediatria Garrahan, a children’s hospital in Buenos Aires.

The study, which will last 2.5 years, is designed for researchers to learn accurate CBD oil dosing for patients with refractory epilepsy. One hundred patients are participating.

The two companies also work with Universidad Nacional De La Plata on research and medical cannabis education initiatives.

Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria, said about the trade: “Aphria and ABP, in close partnership with the Argentinean government, continue to advance opportunities for medical cannabis in the country . . . We are also proud to support the critical and necessary research being undertaken by Hospital Garrahan on the treatment of refractory epilepsy in children with our Rideau CBD oil.”

The combination of efforts with fact-based, scientific research along with educating and legislating based on that information could have far-reaching impacts for legislation on cannabis globally.

Uruguay’s primary goal is decreasing illegal marijuana sales; the country hopes to eliminate all unlawful trading within five years

Uruguay is the first Latin American country to legalize medical and recreational use of marijuana in 2013.

In 6 years, IRCCA, Uruguay’s cannabis control institution, estimates that the legal market funneled more than twenty-two million dollars out of the black market. A win for drug enforcement and for the legal market, which estimates say has more than forty-one thousand participants.

This news, paired with an announcement from the country’s drug board, said that it hopes to eliminate unlawful drug trafficking within five years, and suggests that legalization for medical and recreational use will bring order to a historically lawless sector.

If Uruguay achieves full elimination of the black market by 2024, they could transform the black-marijuana markets across the region and the world. As it stands, there remain challenges to overcome.

[Pennsylvania senators propose legislation to end pot prohibition]

The Mercado Libre, an Argentine e-commerce site, operates across most of Central and South America selling CBD oil on its platform. The Observador, an Uruguayan news site, indicates that Uruguay does not license sales from the site, which are often for medical grade oil, rendering them illegal.

Sites like Mercado Libre appeal to medical consumers because, as Potnetwork previously reported, the regulations imposed on medicinal cultivation leave many patients without sufficient access to vital medication.

If Uruguay can increase access to medical grade oil, it may be a tipping point in eliminating the remains of the illegal market.

HempMeds Brasil educational patron in the medical marijuana sphere

Medical Marijuana, Inc’s (OTCMKTS:MJNA) subsidiary HempMeds Brasil, which claims the title of Brazil’s first CBD importer, hosted a Medical Cannabis event in Bahia on March 19.

Medical cannabis is legal in Brazil, but the country has only allowed limited imports and no cultivation since the initial deregulation passed.

HempMeds Brasil hosted 2 earlier classes designed to educate doctors on marijuana’s impact on the human body. The new event focused on “the landscape of medical cannabis in Brazil” according to the press release from Medical Marijuana, Inc.

[Staffing the Cannabis Industry: How one cannabis recruiting firm is using an affiliate program to help cannabis businesses earn additional revenue]

Medical Marijuana’s CEO highlighted the importance of education in the press release. “The cannabis industry is taking off in Latin America more than we could have ever expected,” said Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus. “That said, there are still many misconceptions about CBD, and our mission is to help people become more educated about what it is and its potential health benefits.”

Currently, there is a medical cultivation bill that’s been held up in Brazil’s legislature since the election of President Jair Bolsonaro. Giving access to scientific applications of medical cannabis could drive that legislation favorably for advocates.

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