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Argentina Province of Chubut Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Program will allow epilepsy patients and others to access cannabidiol.

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Medical marijuana is about to become a part of the public health care system in the southern Argentinean province of Chubut – making it the first jurisdiction in South America to allow cannabis into the healthcare system.

A report from the Buenos Aires Herald indicates that Governor Mario Das Neves recently designed a piece of legislation that will allow a non-intoxicating strain of cannabis oil to be distributed in public hospitals for patients requiring treatment for epilepsy. The bill has already received approval from the legislature and has become law.

Although the bill was created to provide epilepsy patients with access to cannabidiol (CBD), its language also extends the use of this popular cannabinoid (explicitly mentioning the brand Charlotte’s Webs) to “other pathologies that the provincial health minister deems appropriate.”

The oil will be manufactured in the United States.

Interestingly, unlike the medical marijuana programs that we have grown accustom to seeing the United States, the new CBD law in Chubut will allow cannabis oil to be included in a list of medications that are covered by health insurance. Patients in the U.S. do not have this luxury because federal law, which still considers marijuana to have “no medicinal value,” has prevented insurers from including cannabis in their repertoire.

“Without a doubt this going to bring people closer to this medication that reduced the number of seizures in epilepsy patients from 60 episodes to two to three per week and of a lesser intensity,” said Legislator Gutavo Fita of the Victory Front, the leading sponsor of the bill.

Interestingly, while the use of cannabis is accepted for medicinal purposes throughout some parts of Argentina, there are no laws on the books to protect patients who use the herb for this purpose. The southern portion of the country is reportedly the best place to use marijuana without being harassed by the police.