On Tuesday, a special committee of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies passed a bill that would enable cannabis cultivation for medicinal and industrial purposes.
After being postponed on several occasions, the passing of this project meant a defeat for the conservative pro-Bolsonaro ruling party which, according to O Globo, was firmly opposed to the bill and acted accordingly. Indeed, the battle was a close one: with 17 votes in favor and 17 against, the tie had to be broken by the chairman of the special committee, deputy Paulo Teixeira (PT-SP).
“This report was not built out of my head, it was not something I took and decided to do. It was discussed as a group,” said Luciano Ducci (PSB-PR), author of the text, alluding to the collaboration of the National Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), the Ministry of Agriculture, the pharmaceutical industry, and civil associations.
“The project focuses on the full legalization of the production of hemp oil, extracts, and uses of hemp, such as cosmetics, food, and beverages, etc. Brazil’s Medical Cannabis Law is a regulatory milestone. I am very proud of Congressmen Paulo Teixeira and Luciano Ducci. They have courageously led the legislative process to give Brazilians access to hemp products. This is auspicious news, even with the uphill battle ahead in the Lower House and Senate. Tomorrow is another day and we will fight and win the next battle; today is a celebration,” Bacellar explains.
After passing the main text of the bill, the committee rejected all of the amendment proposals presented. Now, the text is being processed, and, once approved, it could be sent directly to the Senate for voting.
However, pro-government deputies and opponents to the project warned that, in order to bring the analysis to the Chamber, it will end up appealing.
According to the text, “live pharmacies” of the SUS (Unified Health System) can grow cannabis – in addition to the medicinal plants, they already grow – and manufacture cannabidiol (CBD) based products. As for medicinal purposes, growing must be carried out by legal entities authorized by Anvisa. For industrial or veterinary use, authorization must be granted by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Of course, the battle remains uphill: President Jair Bolsonaro declared that, if passed, he has every intention of vetoing the bill.
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