Join us for another episode of Legal Lunch Byte, where special guest Rafael Arcuri, a legal expert in the cannabis industry in Brazil will discuss the recent advancements in cannabis regulation in Brazil with our host Frederic Rocafort. Rafael is the Executive Director of the National Association of Industrial Hemp, in Brazil. He helps companies with strategic lawsuits and creates liaisons between public and private actors where he advocates to change the current laws or to allow specific products in the Brazilian market. His insight is invaluable for anyone looking to explore or expand into the Brazilian cannabis market. Topics on the table this week: Insider commentary on the evolving cannabis industry, regulations and market opportunities in Brazil. Brazil’s legal framework for cannabis, and what it means for businesses.  Strategies for working within the legalities and business ventures in the Brazilian cannabis sector. The Legal Lunch Byte is a digestible 15-minute legal chat served weekly at 11 AM MST.

well hello everyone and welcome to the legal lunch bite episode 13 and I’m joined today by our good friend Rafael Arcuri and let’s just get right into it Rafael if you could briefly introduce yourself to our audience hello everyone it’s a a great pleasure to be here and my name is Rafael Arcuri I’m the president of the National Association of Industrial Hemp here in Brazil. I’m a lobbyist and I’m specialized in regulatory law here in Brazil specializing in cannabis for at least four years now thank you very much for the invitation it’s a great pleasure to be here now thank thank you for for joining us and we want to ask you about all sorts of things related to cannabis in Brazil so let’s start off with medical cannabis what’s the state of play at the moment for medical cannabis in in Brazil we have one of the might sound that I’m bragging but we have one of the most advanced regulations for medical cannabis in the world because we had um two great movements from our regulatory agency that’s called on Visa so we had a very strict good in the sense that provides a high quality product for the patients without the request the need to prove efficacy over the placebo as in drug regulations so we have a drug by all means except that those companies that have a Health authorization to Market those those products they can um Market them without being a drug but with a high uh standard of quality for the patient and we have also and those uh those products they are sold in pharmacies here in Brazil so it’s very easy to access them you need just a a prescription from your doctor and you’re ready to go in the closest pharmacy um then we have a possibility for the patient to import the products that are sold legally in their country of origin so if we have a a company in Florida or Oregon that can sell for instance CBD derived hemp cvd derived from hemp that you guys can export so those companies can sell in Brazil as medical Cannabis and we have also one drug registered here in Brazil a high THC drug and we have something a little bit more peculiar to our context there is a lot of legal decisions like five or 6,000 H around the country uh given authorization for patients to grow their cannabis plants and extract the the oil for medical purposes H and we also have something that’s very unique to Brazil that is uh a set of associations OMGs that gather patients and uh were granted legal authorization to cultivate and distribute uh cannabis products for the members of said Association so we have like this five points cannabis regulation and but despite that we cannot grow cannabis in Brazil so we have to import everything that’s why we have so many foreign companies here in Brazil excellent and uh what about Industrial Hemp what what’s the what’s the status with with um with those products that’s a little bit uh trickier because we have um I think most countries from I don’t know 10 years ago we had a general prohibition on cannabis products that did not clearly made a distinction between medical cannabis recreational and Industrial Hemp products so what we have here in Brazil is that we have this General prohibition on Cannabis sativa and the substances H derived from it but at the same time we are allowed to as in the rest of the world to uh commercialize import and uh manufacture uh derived uh products derived from the fibers but we don’t but that’s basically it the products derived from textiles bioplastics um some other products derived from the fiber but we cannot explore here in Brazil even if we import hemp derived Foods this the the foods derived from the seeds and that is something very unique to Brazil it’s a very strict prohibition that falls under the en prohibition of cannabis we’re trying to to overcome that because very easy we have the single convention with a very clear exception on Article 28 for those seeds and fibers products but we we’re not there yet but when the Market opens that’s going to be very interesting Market here in Brazil got it from what you’re describing you you you have different actors um helping craft the the law as it relates to medical cannabis as it relates to cannabis more more broadly we have a bit of a similar situation in the US where where we have the federal government and the state government and, and within within those uh governments different agencies um and that creates um issues so I was I’d like to ask for for your views on how that is playing out in Brazil I mean um I I imagine that there will be some inconsistencies but what impact are are are those having on the day-to-day practices that’s I think it’s the main point right now because we have the Supreme Court with um trying to decriminalize possession of especially marijuana there was they needed to to do a distinguishing between all drugs in marijuana there was some votes uh that tried to to decriminalize all drugs but right now we have the majority of votes to decriminalize uh the possession of marijuana so that created that’s a very old lawsuit that reached the Supreme Court after I don’t know 10 15 years but it is it was in a specific time here in Brazil that we have the most conservative Congress maybe in our history and that H generated a reaction from uh Congress and the Senate proposed an an amendment to the Constitution putting in the articles of uh rights like almost our Bill of Rights the criminalization of the possession of old drugs so that is a lot of tension between those two players and we have a higher federal court there is not a constitutional court that is always that also with a ER with a decision that might legalized hemp in the federal level and that’s very big and we have um Visa our health regulatory agency that has those uh two rules that I already said and the drug registration and we have the lower Judiciary that the the first and second instances that already have some different different and not very coherent decisions on what is allowed and what is not allowed so we have right now uh maybe um a turning point that may come from some of those players that all have jurisdiction to regulate cannabis at some level and we have the the possibility of having a very big opening of the market or a very strict closure of the market it will not affect businesses very much but the the end consumer that actually uses drugs so it is good but it’s a competition that can turn sideways got it got it um depending on who’s prevailing right um it it it you know that that competition can be good or bad depending on on on who’s looking at it um Rafael um my own practice um is is heavily focused on intellectual property and I particularly enjoy my my work at the intersection of of intellectual property law and cannabis law so I’m curious as to the intellectual property issues that are coming up in in in Brazil um maybe you could um tell us a little bit about that our USPTO is called en uhp had um a very strict positioning on um brands that did not allow brands that used as a sign uh marijuana cannabis or hemp they did not allow in the majority of cases but there were some some cases that uh go true and gotten uh um a registration but it shifted at lately because the main point was that they argued that um brands that contained the the the signs either uh marijuana cannabis or hemp they were uh against the good moral of the country so in rough terms they were uh terms that could not be registered but since uh 2015 we are having those new rules new regulations coming into place we have the uh National Health System that’s a public system that is already incorporating in some states uh legal marijuana legal medical cannabis so we have uh we had a shift in the position from our USPTO and they are now allowing those products those Brands to be registered with those signs so that’s a good thing for companies here in Brazil companies from abroad that wish to to uh protect their brands yeah we the Cannabis industry certainly has very serious issues here in the United States when it comes to when it comes to registering its trademarks but one thing we don’t have to worry about are the um you know the morality grounds since um Supreme Court decided a few years ago that that that was a uh that part of the law was unconstitutional so at least something we don’t have to to worry about but of course there are all sorts of other restrictions um so Rafael to to wrap up um I want to turn to um a a a concern and interest uh that that we always have here at the firm and that involves opportunities business opportunities um for for our clients but more broadly for for companies um uh in the US and elsewhere that might be looking at Brazil as a promising Market in the medical cannabis uh and or industrial uh hemp spaces so what is your view on that if you were just you know taking advantage of this platform to to address those businesses that might be interested um in those markets what would you say to them I think the two big shifts we might have in the near future are uh animal use either from cannaboids to uh medical cannaboids used for veterinary purposes or uh hemp feed for Animals because I think that’s something that could open up rather quickly and something that’s not right there yet but I think it will open in the next I don’t know year probably it is the hemp food market and the the traditional food industry here in Brazil they are very interested in that because the nine amino acids that hemp protein has the um amount of protein from each seed so we have a possibility to integrate that in the food production here in Brazil and that would be great so I would bet in those two animal uses and uh hemp Foods fantastic fantastic well Rafael it’s it’s been a a wonderful conversation as as always um we hope to have you back um again uh at some point uh for now um thank you once again for joining us and to our to our audience um join us next week for a conversation about Florida’s upcoming vote um to legalize um adult use cannabis that promises to be a very interesting um conversation as well so thanks to everyone and see you next week thank you it’s a great pleasure to talk to you