Argentina Legalizes Medical Cannabis And Hemp To Revive Economy
The Latin American country has high hopes that the legalization of cannabis will bring much-needed cash and jobs to the country after Covid
At the beginning of May, the Argentine Congress passed a bill to establish a legal framework for the establishment of a domestic cannabis industry (cultivation and sale) as well as the export of both medical cannabis and industrial hemp.
The move was backed by the country’s president, Alberto Fernandez, who hopes to create new jobs, increase productivity, and create new kinds of exports for the country, which is now facing a deep economic crisis, post-Covid.
The government believes that the industry could create about 10,000 new jobs in the next two years and create $500 million worth of revenue for the country. They hope that of this amount, $50 million will also be exported.
The country has 8 different varieties of cannabis seeds so it will not have to import them, or seedlings.
Cannabis – A Latin American Export Commodity?
Argentina of course is not the only country now exploring the cultivation of cannabis for economic development purposes – not only in Latin America but globally.
At this point, with the exception of Venezuela, Bolivia, French Guiana, Suriname, and Guyana, the entire continent is engaged in medical cultivation of some kind. Even in these countries, the discussion is moving forward toward other things. Uruguay of course is the only country on the continent where recreational use has been legalized. Indeed, Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalize recreational use.
Beyond this, many countries in Africa are now looking to the crop to boost domestic income via exports and for job creation, starting with South Africa.
The question is, of course, will the demand for cannabis actually be this great, globally. Beyond that, there are many questions about the current sustainability of the industry in developing countries. Yes, the prices of cannabis need to drop, dramatically, but there is also likely to be a “race to the bottom” as countries compete with each other for more valuable markets, like Europe.
In many countries on the African continent, cannabis is increasingly being seen as a replacement for tobacco.
In Latin America, in particular, however, the sustainability of the industry, particularly when considering that rain forests could be further decimated to grow the crop, is still in question.
One thing is for sure, however. “South” economies are now in the middle of a green rush. The question is, however, will this return the gold they hope for?