Medical cannabis patients throughout Brazil may soon have the option to supply their own needs in a country where home cultivation has been repeatedly denied by the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA).
The Sixth Panel of the Superior Court of Justice—the country’s top court—issued a 5-0 ruling June 14 to authorize three patients involved in litigation to grow cannabis and extract its oil for medical treatment, The Associated Press reported. The decision will likely set a precedent for patients throughout the most populated nation in South America: Brazil has roughly 212.6 million people.
The majority shift in supporting medical cannabis legalization began nearly a decade ago in Brazil: A 2014 survey indicated that 57% of the population was in favor of legalization, according to the International Drug Policy Consortium.
Judge Rogério Schietti said the Brazilian government’s failure to take a scientific approach to medical cannabis prompted the court panel’s action, according to the AP.
“The discourse against this possibility is moralistic. It often has a religious nature, based on dogmas, on false truths, stigmas,” Schietti said. “Let us stop this prejudice, this moralism that delays the development of this issue at the legislative [level], and many times clouds the minds of Brazilian judges.”
While the AP reported Tuesday that Brazilian law currently limits the medical use of cannabis-derived products to imported goods, other reports contradict that statement.
In 2020, ANVISA (Brazil’s equivalent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) began allowing the commercialization of medical cannabis products, authorizing the manufacture, sale and import of cannabis-based medicines, including both THC and CBD-based products, according to The Cannigma and Daniel Law, a Latin American legal service in Brazil.
Currently, three companies are authorized in the country to cultivate, harvest and handle cannabis for medicinal use: Brazilian Cannabis Support Association Esperança (ABRACE), the Cannabis and Health Association (Cultive), and the Support for Medical Cannabis Research and Patients (APEPI), according to those two sources.
Home cultivation for personal use, however, remains unregulated and prohibited by ANVISA.
In Tuesday’s ruling, judge Antonio Saldanha said that “there is a deliberately backward action toward obscurantism” in the Brazilian government’s delay, the AP reported.
As recently as June 2021, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, a member of the conservative Social Liberal Party, said he opposed authorizing home cannabis cultivation, for medical purposes or not, according to the news outlet.
The Superior Court of Justice’s ruling came on the heels of June 11 protests in favor of medical cannabis in Brazil.