Ecuador inches closer to legal medical cannabis production

A key legislative committee in Ecuador approved comprehensive health reform that could lead to legal cultivation, manufacture and prescribing of medical cannabis in the Latin American country.

The measure, Libro II del Código de la Salud, was approved unanimously by the National Assembly’s standing commission on health – a cross-party committee of legislators – and now moves to the full assembly.

Juan Pablo Bahamonde, director of UBG, an Ecuadoran company that specializes in health regulatory affairs, told Marijuana Business Daily that despite some uncertainty, he expects the bill to be enacted into law in the next 6-8 months.

If the bill is approved, “the president (Lenin Moreno) could have the option of vetoing totally or partially,” Bahamonde said.

“Despite the uncertainty ahead, there’s a high probability of success considering pro-government legislators have the majority in the Parliament.”

The legislation would:

  • Require further discussion to determine the approved medical conditions and types of cannabis products allowed.
  • Prohibit advertising of any kind.
  • Establish distribution through pharmacies with a patient registry.
  • Cap THC content at 1%.

Oversight of the program would be shared by the National Agency for Regulation, Control and Health Surveillance (ARCSA), the Agency for Animal and Plant Health Regulation and Control (Agrocalidad) and several Ministries.

The bill does not include discussion of imports or exports.

Alfredo Pascual can be reached at [email protected]

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