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Brazil Blocks Domestic Medical Cannabis Cultivation

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South America is home to some of the best climates for cultivating agricultural crops, including cannabis. With cannabis laws being reformed throughout South America, the continent is poised to become a global leader in cannabis production.

Brazil is South America’s largest country as measured by population size, and second place isn’t close. With a population of over 200 million people Brazil dwarfs the next closest nation’s population (Colombia, less than 50 million people). Brazil will become a massive market for medical cannabis products as they become legally available.

With an ideal climate for cannabis cultivation and a large potential patient base, it would be logical for Brazil to cultivate cannabis within its borders for its own regulated industry. However, that will not be the case. Per Reuters:

Brazilian pharmaceutical regulator Anvisa on Tuesday approved regulations for the roll-out of medicinal cannabis-based products but in a separate vote blocked a proposal to allow domestic medical marijuana plantations.

Anvisa’s approval of rules to regulate the nascent medical marijuana market represents a major shift in a country that has suffered years of deadly drug violence.

Nonetheless, the decision to prohibit domestic plantations shows that Brazil, led by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, is not yet willing to join peers Colombia and Uruguay and develop its own vertically integrated medical marijuana sector.

It makes sense for some countries to rely on imported cannabis products for various reasons. Some countries are just better suited to cultivate cannabis. However, given that Brazil is well-suited to cultivate cannabis, it is bizarre that the nation’s leaders would decide to continue to prohibit domestic cannabis cultivation.

Legal cannabis cultivation companies create jobs and boost local economies. Given how well cannabis grows in Brazil, the nation could easily become a top cannabis exporter if it wanted to. Unfortunately, that will have to wait. For now, at least some patients will eventually be able to receive some relief.