Argentina launches cannabis regulatory agency with eye on exports

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Argentina launched a national regulatory agency for the hemp and medical marijuana industries, aiming to capitalize on the domestic and international markets.

The governing body – Agencia Regulatoria de la Industria del Cáñamo y del Cannabis Medicinal, or Regulatory Agency for the Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis Industry (ARICCAME) – seeks to regulate and foster a wide variety of cannabis-related sectors, such as medical marijuana, cannabinoids in food and cosmetics, cannabinoids in food for veterinary use and industrial hemp.

The ARICCAME’s first working group was held last week, El Economista reported.

The agency also lists as its general objectives to:

  • Introduce hemp, and all its derivatives, in Argentina, including for food, construction materials, textiles and bioplastics.
  • Promote scientific research and cannabinoid-related technological progress as well as promote favorable conditions for the existing industries inside the country.

More specifically, the agency will look to establish clear rules providing legal certainty to the sector and monitor noncompliance with the regulatory regime.

The ARICCAME will also be responsible for authorizations of imports, production, domestic marketing and exports, according to the Allende & Brea law firm in Buenos Aires.

Reuters reported that the new national agency’s working group will look to “regularize and promote” the country’s nascent cannabis sector.

“This opens the door for Argentina to start a new path in terms of industrial exports, on the basis of huge global demand,” the news agency quoted Economy Minister Sergio Massa as saying.

After Argentina’s industry largely failed to materialize in 2017 when the initial medical cannabis law was approved, authorities published a new decree in 2020 aiming to address the shortcomings of the rules governing the country’s medical cannabis sector.

That decree allowed pharmacies to dispense cannabis magistral preparations.

It also expanded the reach of the potential industry by allowing access to medical cannabis for any ailment – not just select conditions, as was the case with the 2017 version.

Another law was passed in May 2022 – the Regulatory Framework for the Development of the Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Industry.

That law is available here.