In response to a lack of access for patients, medical cannabis cultivation has become an option for patient associations in Peru following a recent change to the country’s weed laws.
Only people registered with the country’s National Register of Patients Using Cannabis are able to get a licence to grow, process, transport and store weed and its derivatives for medical purposes.
Associations can be made up of two or more registered patients or their legal representatives. Cultivation is strictly for medical or therapeutic uses of cannabis, and all growing must meet requirements set by Peru’s Ministry of Health.
The Specialized Unit of the Anti-Drug Directorate of the National Police of Peru is responsible for creating security protocols.
Patient push spurs Congress but work isn’t done yet
Patients had been requesting Peru allow cultivating medical cannabis, and about 50,000 medical cannabis patients will benefit from the law.
While medical cannabis has been legal in Peru since 2017, it hasn’t been easily accessible. Only a handful of pharmacies in Lima sell medical pot and it was only distributed to labs, which didn’t have licences to grow.
The Congress vote on July 15 to legalize patient association cultivation saw 100 lawmakers in favour, zero opposing and four abstentions.
Advocacy groups Federation of Medicinal Cannabis (Fecame) and Cannabis Gotas de Esperanzawho (CGDE) had petitioned Congress for cannabis cultivation last year. Their proposal included personal cultivation, which didn’t make it into the new law.
While advocates welcomed the association cultivation law, more needs to be done for cannabis in Peru, they say.
CDGE celebrates the “historic day” in a Facebook post, which the group concludes with “there’s still a long way to go” and vows to work towards improving access to medical cannabis.
On July 23, cannabis activist and CGDE founder Francesca Brivio penned an open letter to President Francisco Sagasti. In it, she details how she has used cannabis to treat mast cell disorder, Raynaud’s syndrome and Ehler Danlos syndrome.
“With the first puff, I was able to feel pain relief and mood improvements,” she says.
Brivio then emphasizes how Peru is failing medical cannabis patients.
“We ask that the persecution of cannabis users end. We have the right to use it legally. Education is fundamental, we want it to be regulated, not more prohibition. They need to listen to us, we are the ones who use it, we know how we feel, how our families feel, we know what our needs are.”
She commends the work done on July 15 but pleads with the president to accept the benefits of cannabis and ensure “real access” for patients.
“President Sagasti, we are not going to give up, where they sow fear, we sow hope.”
Recreational use of cannabis is still prohibited in Peru.