On August 30, Panama approved the medicinal cannabis draft law by the National Assembly in its third debate. The Draft Law (No. 153) regulates the medicinal and therapeutic use of cannabis and its derivatives.
The next step to implement this law is for President Laurentino Cortizo to enacts it and it is published it in the official gazette. This would position Panama as the first Central American country with a legal framework for the use of cannabis.
The regulation comes after five years of struggle of the patients and their families to have access to cannabis-based treatments that improve their quality of life. This way, a register of persons authorized to use medicinal cannabis is created. In addition, the import licenses of its derivatives are defined for the commercialization, manufacturing and scientific research.
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) will be responsible for issuing the importation, acquisition and marketing license. However, according to the legislation, this ministry may define the number of licenses to manufacture cannabis derivatives. It must be taken into account that as a preventive measure, only seven licenses can be authorized up to five years after the law is enacted. It is done so to make an exhaustive monitoring and supervision on the internal market development.
The regulation establishes that the medicinal cannabis derivatives importation will only be effective in order to supply the Cannabis Use Program patients and the national market. This standard will also ensure the maintenance of affordable prices for products derived from medicinal cannabis, through the establishment of a council composed of two representatives of organizations of patients with chronic degenerative diseases.
Furthermore, this law authorizes the Ministry of Health to create the National Program for the Study and Medicinal Use of Cannabis and its Derivatives, in order to promote the research, the educational initiatives and the proper use of this product.
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