Panama Regulates the Law on Medicinal and Therapeutic Use of Cannabis

    The norm authorizes the Ministry of Health (Minsa) to create the National Program for the Study and Medicinal Use of Cannabis and its Derivatives

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    The Panamanian president, Laurentino Cortizo, sanctioned this past Wednesday two executive decrees that regulate the law that provides for the medicinal and therapeutic use of cannabis and its derivatives, and establishes other measures on the matter.

    One of the executive orders sanctioned by Cortizo regulates the use and access to the product and its derivatives for therapeutic, medical, veterinary, scientific and research purposes throughout the country, and the other creates the National Directorate for the Monitoring of Activities Related to Medical Cannabis.

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    Strongest regulations at the regional level

    “Panama has one of the strongest regulations at the regional level for the use of cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic purposes, and thus provide relief to thousands of patients who have waited for this solution for long years,” said Cortizo.

    The government official explained that “the marketing of the products will be done under strict import control with a traceability program that includes monitoring, from the cultivation areas to the laboratories and final points of sale,” the Government said in a statement.

    The aforementioned regulation will be applicable to legal entities that import, export, plant, cultivate and market cannabis and its derivatives for medicinal or scientific purposes.

    In addition, the rule stipulates that the data of patients enrolled in the National Program for the Study and Medicinal Use of Cannabis and its derivatives are protected. Medical cannabis, according to regulations, can be used, among other pathologies, for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, autism, HIV and arthritis.

    Establishing the security requirements

    Regarding the functions of the Monitoring Directorate, it is ruled that they will be, among others, to establish the security requirements for the handling, transportation, storage and location of the areas and buildings that will be used to manufacture or carry out scientific research on medicinal cannabis.

    It must also carry out a guide for the development of security protocols for those interested in a medical cannabis manufacturing license, and approve the applications for these licenses.

    The Directorate will be attached to the Ministry of Public Security, and will be made up of officials from the National Police, the National Aeronaval Service, the National Border Service and ministry liaisons specialized in security.

    Law 242, approved by the National Assembly (AN-Parliament) of Panama on August 30, 2019 as bill 153 of 2019, came into force with its promulgation in the Official State Gazette on October 15, 2021.

    The rule authorizes the Ministry of Health (Minsa) to create the National Program for the Study and Medicinal Use of Cannabis and its Derivatives, in order to promote research, educational initiatives and proper use, the AN indicated at the time.
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