Brazil policymakers have approved the sale of medical cannabis in the country, making it the largest medical marijuana market in Latin America. The country’s FDA-like governmental agency Anvisa said on Tuesday that its full regulations regarding cannabis-based products will be published shortly in Brazil’s federal gazette, and that the new laws will come into effect three months following that announcement.
The policy shift is momentous for a country that previously banned all use of cannabis, and is currently governed by the far-right administration of Jair Bolsonaro. But Brazil’s regulations have a key omission that many will see as indicative of the government; production of non-hemp cannabis will remain illegal in the country, requiring the involvement of foreign corporations in the new industry.
Forbes reports that an Anvisa spokesperson encouraged Brazilian companies to “import the semi-finished raw material, not the cannabis plant or parts thereof.”
That decision — which warranted its own vote apart from the general body of cannabis regulations — could set back the Brazilian marijuana industry. In Colombia, medical marijuana regulations have allowed for a burgeoning wave of cannabis companies while Brazil’s neighbor Uruguay became the first country in the world to allow for recreational cannabis usage and