Joint effort: Government launches National Cannabis Agency working group

It’s a first step for the institution, which will boost policy around cannabis regulation

Argentina on Wednesday launched the first working group of a new national agency to regulate and promote the country’s nascent cannabis industry, which ministers hope will create new jobs and exports, generating fresh income for the nation.

“This opens the door for Argentina to start a new path in terms of industrial exports, on the basis of huge global demand,” said Economy Minister Sergio Massa in a conference launching the national hemp and cannabis agency, ARICCAME.

“All this needs to be transformed into an industry which generates work, which generates exports for Argentina and which generates value.”

Massa said that from Thursday, the agency would begin regularizing programs and coordinating with various provinces and industrial sectors, adding Argentina already counted on demand for projects linked to the agro-industrial sector.

Francisco Echarren, who will lead the agency, said the industry could generate thousands of new jobs, as well as creating technological developments and new products for export.

“We have a huge challenge ahead of us,” he said, “not only getting a new industry on its feet, but giving millions of Argentines access to products that improve their quality of life.”

The board of the Agency will be led by officials from five Ministries: Health, Agriculture, Economy, Security, and Science and Technology. There will also be a National Council where each province will be represented, with the aim of expanding licensing to boost production across the country. 

In addition to regulating and promoting the cannabis industry, the Cannabis National Agency will also import, export, cultivate, produce, manufacture, and market seeds and cannabis for health and industrial purposes.

Government gives the green light

Argentina legalized cannabis oil for medicinal use in 2017, allowing the federal government to grow marijuana for research and therapeutic purposes.

In 2020, Argentina allowed people to grow marijuana at home for medicinal use. The decree also allowed pharmacies to sell products derived from cannabis, and ordered insurers to cover marijuana-based medications for patients with a prescription.

Uruguay became the first modern country to explicitly legalize growing, selling and smoking marijuana in 2013. In Colombia, President Gustavo Petro has also spoken about more regulation to boost the country’s budding industry.

-with information from Reuters

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