In 2017, a law was passed in Argentina that legalized medical marijuana. The law, however, was flawed as many obstacles blocked patients from gaining access to medical marijuana, forcing many to turn to the black market instead.
The good news for supporters of medical marijuana is that Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández recently passed a decree that will make cannabis widely available to patients suffering from a broad range of ailments. The new decree allows medical marijuana to be grown at home and enables pharmacies to sell cannabis-derived oils, creams, and other products. On top of that, public and private insurance systems must cover these medications for patients who obtain a prescription.
“We’ve been fighting for this for three years,” said Valeria Salech, the head of Mamá Cultiva, an Argentine organization that promotes medical marijuana. She became a strong supporter of medical marijuana when she saw the positive effects cannabis oil had on her son, Emiliano, who has epilepsy and is autistic. “We’re no longer going to be criminalized for seeking a better quality of life for ourselves and our loved ones.”
The measure is the latest step in softening drug laws in Latin America. In 2017, Uruguay legalized recreational marijuana, which is sold in pharmacies, and Colombia established a licensing system to grow cannabis for medicinal use.