The South American country is following a trend increasingly seen in Europe in allowing patients the right to grow cannabis at home
It is not just in Europe where home grow is a la mode these days. Last week, Brazil’s highest court voted to allow home grow and oil extraction after three patients took their case to the Superior Court.
Brazil has moved forward relatively significantly on the cannabis reform front. After allowing GMP production domestically and medical products to be imported into the country, the issue of formal medical reform is now a topic in the pending presidential race.
As a result, the Superior Court’s decision to allow ill patients to grow their own plants and extract oils from them is significant. It means that even if pharmaceutical producers setting up shop to export to the rest of the world never distribute their products domestically, Brazilians with chronic conditions can access cannabis medicines – even if they cannot afford the expensive imports.
This puts the country ahead of others – including many in Europe like Germany – where patient home grow is still a contested and highly controversial topic.
One of the more interesting implications of the home grow decision in Brazil is how the country will regulate this part of the industry. One of the larger problems facing the country right now is rainforest deforestation – including by drug gangs who ship their products internationally. Patient “home grow” might well become a highly unsustainable crop that is grown in conditions that destroy this valuable resource.
Because there is no legislation, only litigated court decisions at this point, further regulatory guidelines on what (and how much) patients can grow without running afoul of drug trafficking charges are going to be a necessity.
The good news is that the majority of presidential candidates are willing to go on record supporting more or less comprehensive medical reform. If the sitting president Jair Bolsonaro loses this election, there is a good chance that his replacement will formalize the court’s decision into formal guidelines.
Beyond this kind of advancement, however, do not look for any radical move on the recreational front – at least not for the next couple of years.
In the meantime, however, patients will be safe from prosecution as the country figures out where it will sit in the internationally legalizing league of cannabis nations.