Peru has only been selling legal medical cannabis products for three months, and already the country’s supply has run dry.
Last December, the Peruvian General Directorate of Medicines, Supplies and Drugs (DIGEMID) purchased only one medical cannabis product for legal distribution: 10 liters of oil containing only 5 percent CBD, a non-intoxicating component of cannabis with medicinal properties.
The oil was manufactured and distributed to Peru by the Oregon-based company Anden Naturals, the only cannabis company that has secured a contract for medical cannabis with the Peruvian government. According to Marijuana Business Daily, DIGEMID paid roughly $8,390 USD to Anden Naturals for this initial supply, then sold the oil to the nation’s medical patients in 10mL bottles for about $14 a pop.
And to give you some idea of how minuscule this first purchase of CBD oil was, 10 liters is about three or four bottles of big 2.75-liter sodas, the kinds you see offered at neighborhood or company parties. In other words, it’s certainly not enough to CBD oil for an entire country.
“I don’t understand why regulators haven’t issued any licenses,” Andrés Vazquez, executive director at the Lima-based farm consultancy firm ACM Peru, said to Marijuana Business Daily. “Instead, they’ve focused their efforts on having a government supply, of only one product, available in only one government pharmacy in the whole country and only during a couple of months.”
“This is clearly not enough for patients,” he continued. “The only real solution is that authorities implement the already existing laws and regulations.”
Peru legalized medical cannabis in 2017, but the bill came with several bureaucratic hurdles, and requires foreign importers to supply the nation’s medical cannabis rather than growing and cultivating it within national boundaries.
“We feel dissatisfied with the law because it doesn’t prioritize the patient’s needs,” Dorothy Santiago, one of the founders of Buscando Esperanza, a group of Peruvian mothers who have been clandestinely crafting marijuana-based oils for sick children, told Panam Post in 2017. “They are authorizing the imports that don’t benefit us because only the wealthy will be able to afford these benefits, as usual.”
Anden Naturals expects to send a new shipment of CBD oil to Peru sometime soon. But now that governments are finally starting to lighten up on legal weed, we need to ask ourselves: Why are regulators intentionally limiting supply of life-saving medicine, both abroad and in the US?