Malbec and Medical Cannabis: Have Them Both in Argentina

Recently, in Cannabis is Coming! The Latest on Colombia and Mexico, we wrote about legislative initiatives regarding cannabis in two of Latin America’s most important economies. Today we turn our attention to another of the region’s traditional powerhouses, Argentina, which is seeing developments not just at the national level, but also in its provinces and even cities.

Medical cannabis was legalized in Argentina in 2017, but inadequacies in the accompanying regulatory framework meant many users need to turn to the black market to obtain products. The national government is currently working on new regulations that will, among other things, allow home cultivation.

In the meantime, some Argentinean localities are also working on their own cannabis legislation. For instance, in Mendoza, a bill has been introduced in the provincial chamber of deputies to “regulate … scientific research and the medicinal and therapeutic use of the cannabis plant and its derivatives.” The bill specifically provides for the adoption by the provincial health system of the use of cannabis oil for the treatment of numerous ailments.

Mendoza is well known for its wines, and the dry climate that makes it a viticulture powerhouse could also be ideal for cannabis crops as well. Interestingly, the bill’s sponsor, José María Videla Sáenz, is a 13th generation winegrower.

At the city level, Santa Fe recently passed an ordinance to regulate medical cannabis use. The ordinance provides for the establishment of a voluntary registry of growers, paving the way for home cultivation, something the Mendoza provincial legislation did not do.

Santa Fe’s provincial senate (Santa Fe is the capital of the eponymous province) is also considering its own cannabis bill. During the lower chamber’s debate on the bill, a legislator brought a cannabis plant into the chamber. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the same thing happened in Mexico recently.

Will a U.S. representative copy the plant antic when the House debates the MORE Act? My money is on Matt Gaetz.