Panama on Monday legalized medical cannabis becoming the seventh Latin American country—but the first in Central America—to approve the reforms, according to a Jurist report. The bill passed the national assembly unanimously after five years of attempts.
Home cultivation of cannabis remains illegal under the law and the illegal production and sale of cannabis is still punishable by up to 10-15 years in prison. Advertising cannabis products will also remain prohibited.
The measure allows very limited commercial cultivation in Panama while relying on imports in pill and liquid forms, the report says. The Ministry of Health is tasked with distributing medical cannabis products to licensed pharmacies. Under the law, pharmacies must apply for a permit to sell medical cannabis and pass a site inspection.
The bill also requires the creation of a registry for medical cannabis patients and allows research on the plant, Reuters reports. The measure includes language allowing medical cannabis for pets, according to Canex.
Assembly President Crispiano Adames described the legislation—which still requires the signature of President Laurentino Cortizo—as “innovative.”
Another Central American nation, Costa Rica, is also considering a measure to legalize medical cannabis and hemp in the nation, according to Canex. That bill is expected to be taken up by lawmakers this month.
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