On August 26th, the Paraguayan Lower House approved the bill that decriminalizes cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes.
One of the promoters of the project, Senator Patrick Kemper, explained to RFI that the project, basically, focuses on allowing people with a medical condition, and in need of access to medicinal cannabis oil, to cultivate the plant for personal use. In these specific cases, the bill decriminalizes personal small-scale cultivation and possession. It also specifically establishes a double filter path to the medicine: the patients need to obtain permission from both institutions in charge of regulating this activity. These entities would be the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare and the National Anti-Drug Secretary.
The main contribution of this bill is to break with the traditional scheme of health policies, in an effort to use research and science as a guide to make legislative decisions, leaving aside skepticism and stigmas and, ultimately, fulfilling the goal of providing the population with efficient, natural and accessible medical treatments. The pharmaceutical companies support the project, but criticize the personal cultivation because they consider that patients would not achieve a clean product, while also highlighting how this could be used as a loophole for commercially-purposed cultivation, ultimately feeding into the black market.
The concern about obtaining a clean product is indeed valid, because there are differences between homegrown products and those made in a professional cultivation facility. However, there are various organizations of home-growers, inspired by the most important one, Mama Cultiva, who have been perfecting best practices of controlled personal cultivation for six years already, with very positive results for the treatment of different conditions. As far as the use for non-medicinal
urposes, Senator Kemper declarations point towards measures having been taken for strict control. People and houses where the cultivation would be taking place would be both pre-emptively and randomly searched by authorities. Generally speaking, in the above-mentioned fact of requiring a green light both by the National Anti-Drug Secretary and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare together, the very structure of the regulation seem to have been crafted in an effort to anticipate illicit activities of any sort.
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