On Tuesday, June 8th, the special commission of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies very narrowly approved a bill authorizing the cultivation of cannabis for medical, veterinary, scientific and industrial purposes.
Government supporters tried their best to prevent the law from reaching the House of Lords for final approval, but MP Luciano Ducci’s casting vote ensured that the law survived.
While the new law would legalize cannabis cultivation, in practice it would impose a number of restrictions that only allow cannabis cultivation by companies, patient associations, and NGOs. If the text is approved in its current form, individual cultivation would still be illegal.
ANVISA (Brazil’s analogue to the FDA) already allows the import of certain drugs made from cannabis, but the prices are prohibitive for the vast majority of patients. For example, Alzheimer’s patients have to spend more than 10,000 reais (around $ 2,000) a month to import the drugs they need, limiting use to those who can afford such high prices and import delays. To make matters worse, patients cannot buy products for more than a month.
It is unclear whether the House of Lords will approve the law or not. What is clear, however, is that the Bolsonaro government is vehemently opposed to any type of cannabis, saying that this opens the door to widespread recreational use. In short, they believe that the whole land will be stoned on a daily basis when concessions are made to the evil herb.
Stay tuned! We will continue to follow the process of cannabis legalization in Brazil from our office here in São Paulo.