The Senate passed the regulation for the development of the Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Industry
By Belen Recchini.
On July 8, 2021, the Argentine Senate passed the Bill that sets the regulatory framework for the production and supply chains of the cannabis plant, its seeds, and its derived products for industrial and medical use, including scientific investigation to satisfy the local market and generate exports, thus promoting the national development of the sectoral productive chain.
With 56 votes to 5 and 1 abstention, the Bill is still being debated by the lower house of Congress
The Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas, highlighted that the Bill on Medical Cannabis production, passed by the Senate, will create “10,000 jobs” and “500 million dollars in sales”
“The Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Industry incorporates around 200 products and services associated in its value chain, so it opens multiple options to develop services and production activities throughout Argentina”, highlighted Kulfas
This Bill foresees the creation of the Regulatory Agency of the Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis Industry (“ARICCAME”) that will be responsible for regulating, controlling and issuing administrative authorizations regarding the use of seeds of the cannabis plant, of cannabis and its derived products.
This agency will regulate -among others- the import, export, cultivation, industrial production, manufacturing, marketing and acquisition, for any title of the seeds of the cannabis plant, of cannabis and its derived products for medicinal or industrial purposes.
The Bill also establishes that the National Institute of Seeds (INASE) as a regulatory body of the production, dissemination, handling and conditioning of the propagation organs of this species, will dictate complementary norms for the traceability of plant products, in accordance with the provisions of Decree No. 883 dated November 11, 2020.
In coordination with ARICCAME, INASE will rule on a special plan for exceptional and extraordinary registration, so that those who possess seeds can protect the property of their phylogenetic creations, through registration, if they meet the requirements established by Law 20,247 of Seeds and Phylogenetic Creations.
To begin their activities in the Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Industry, human or legal persons must have prior authorization from ARICCAME. Any eventual merger and/or assignment and/or transfer of their shares and/or goodwill, will also require prior and express authorization from the Regulatory Authority.
For the granting of said authorizations, ARICCAME will have special consideration towards those requests aimed at contributing to the development of regional economies and promoting the activity of cooperatives and small and medium-sized agricultural companies, with a perspective on gender and diversity, and federal projection in their granting.
The holder of an authorization must make available to the public informative material related to cannabis, with the contents and deadlines that the regulations provide.
A system of monitoring, control and sanctioning regime (warning, fines, suspensions, expiration and disqualification) will be established for the holders of authorizations, in addition to the civil and criminal liability regime that is applicable to them for diversion of products to the illegal market.
The Bill creates the FEDERAL COUNCIL FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANNABIS AND HEMP INDUSTRY, that must suggest criteria for the distribution and concession of authorizations at the federal level and pronounce on the granting of these, and recommend to ARICCAME policies aimed at the harmonious development of the industry in each region.
In addition, it will prepare studies and diagnoses in relation to the problems that arise from the application of the Law and submit proposals to ARICCAME to improve its work plan.
The Bill establishes that the Regulation will create a special program for the ventures of civil society organizations for the common good that have developed special knowledge, knowledge and experiences about the various medicinal, therapeutic and palliative uses of the plant of cannabis.
The Regulation must foresee actions aimed at adapting said civil society organizations within the framework of this Law, with the aim of inserting small producers in the production chain of cannabis plants for legally authorized uses, with special procedures in authorizations, social fees for access, technical support, among other forms of support.
Likewise, INASE will tend to dictate regulations that enable the registration of cooperatives created for the production of cannabis plants for legally authorized uses.
ARICCAME will articulate investigation programs with Public Universities, and Science and Technical bodies of the Nation and the Provinces, aimed at facilitating and promoting, within the scope of their competence, scientific research related to cannabis and hemp.
ARICCAME will articulate with the SECRETARIAT FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES AND ENTREPRENEURS support programs aimed at facilitating and promoting, within their scope of competence, the development of enterprises and SMEs linked to the activities of DEVELOPMENT OF THE MEDICINAL CANNABIS AND INDUSTRIAL HEMP INDUSTRY.
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