[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]E[/dropcap]cuador officials approved low-THC medical cannabis back in September, and now patients are impatient and eager to have access to the medicine they’ve been promised.
According to the Associated Press, medical cannabis containing less than one percent of CBD was approved this fall, and President Lenín Moreno did not veto this measure, but there is still no medical cannabis readily available for patients. This approval will make Ecuador one of the last of the Latin American countries to implement cannabis regulations in some way, while other countries on the continent have already seen a lot of success in the industry. “In Latin America, with a population of 625 million people, there is great potential,” said Álvaro Torres, a Colombian businessman who co-founded Khiron Life Sciences Corp., which produces and distributes medical cannabis.
Independent legislator Lourdes Cuesta commented to the Associated Press that before medical legalization took place, lawmakers called in patients and their friends and family to talk about how other drugs didn’t work or negatively impacted life, “but therapeutic cannabis returned it to them.”
As of this writing, there is no official statement from the government explaining medical cannabis or how things will work in the new, legal system. Omar Vacas, a scientist at Ecuador’s Catholic University who has studied therapeutic cannabis, claims that because so many cannabis brands are available on the black market, the country is losing money as it waits longer.
“It could also help in the generation of jobs,” he explained.
Although many countries in Latin America started accepting legal cannabis years ago, and countries like Brazil have already established strong medical cannabis regulatory framework. This next year will determine whether Ecuador falls in line with the rest of the continent or continue to experience opposition to medical cannabis.