Medical Marijuana in Peru: What you Should Know about the Project that Approves its Use

(Photo: El Comercio)

The bill would allow for the production and trade of cannabis derivatives. However, the Medical School recommends making adjustments to the proposal

With a unanimous vote this week, the Congressional Defense Commission moved towards the possibility that medical marijuana could be used in Peru. Several aspects of the initiative are discussed below.

1) What would Bill 982/2016 allow?

If approved by the full Congress, Peru would be authorized to produce, import, market, and allow for the informed use of cannabis products exclusively for medicinal purposes. On Monday, the Defense Commission approved the bill making some modifications to the original proposal of the Executive Power, among them, to allow the cultivation and production in Peru (and not only its importation as it was initially raised) under the strict control of the health authority.

2) Who would manufacture cannabis products?

Licenses would be granted to duly constituted chemical-pharmaceutical laboratories. These entities must comply with strict regulations that are applied and supervised by the Health sector. The National Institute of Health, universities, hospitals, and clinics can also obtain the license, for scientific research purposes. Only authorized entities can grow marijuana; the rest of the crop will be incinerated without prejudice under criminal law.

3) What type of by-products could be manufactured?

Oils and cannabis ointments are the most common products, explains pediatrician Alberto Gayoso, president of the Medicines Committee of the Medical College of Peru. There are international laboratories that produce capsules, but they are expensive medicines.

4) Will a patient record be kept?

The project states that users of products derived from cannabis are required to register with the competent authority, which should be indicated by the Executive when it becomes regulated by law. In this record, the disease or illness, the type and quantity of the product you use, and “medical specialist practitioner” data should be described.

On this point, Gayoso said that in Peru there is no specialist of cannabis and it could take two years for that to materialize. “The project must be modified so that doctors with a certification can prescribe,” he says. He adds that his institution trained 22 doctors about these treatments this year.

5) Will the possession of cannabis derivatives be decriminalized?

The bill proposes to amend article 299 of the Penal Code to specify that possession of cannabis derivatives for medicinal purposes, provided that it is the amount necessary for the prescribed treatment, shall not be a criminal offense.

On this point, on Tuesday the Public Ministry formalized a complaint against Ana Alvarez Rudas for the seizure of 5 kilos of marijuana in a clandestine laboratory in San Miguel. According to the Seeking Hope Association, that amount of marijuana seized had medicinal purposes. Congressman Alberto de Belaunde said that there is a criminal figure that exempts him from responsibility.

This article has been modified and translated by Hope Ansanelli. To see the original in Spanish please, click here.

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Hope Ansanelli

A native of Long Island, New York, Hope joins our team after finishing up her two year Peace Corp's service working in community-based environmental resource management in northern Peru and Master's degree in Environmental Studies. Passionate about life and living it beyond limits, Hope loves to teach and practice Yoga, cook healthy home-made recipes and explore the world with her loved ones.