Organized by the Government of Paraguay
Dr. Cesar Arce (SENAD): Reflecting on my country Paraguay and a new law for medicinal cannabis along with a research purpose. I wish to start with national policies in deregulation. These are guided by three tools for international control, built by the first planned national control of the drug, along with the three UN documents (Political Declaration 2009, UNGASS 2016 and SDG objectives).
In terms of marijuana in Paraguay, we produce peacefully and do so with the very highest quality of THC. In ensuring our decisions are guided by specialist strategies we can ensure marijuana for research and useful medical purpose. We have treated many people who have diseases, epilepsy and we try to use it especially for these cases. Not only are we considering to lower the level of THC, we are currently conducting research on how to mix low-level THC with CBD, and have so far found that in many cases there is a solution. In terms of national policies we must integrate education, health, social and economic, and justice as a collective of branches and without such it’s impossible to achieve a proposal for drug policies.
We have many specific area objectives including; health, social determinants, communication, prevention, treatment, social research, institutional regulation and coordination with all institutions of the government and NGOs. Our approach to policy is based on applying evidence and we believe this assists in establishing policy focus. We have created a new institution for this purpose, and this institution is working with ministries, the anti-national drug secretary, research institutes, scientists and academia.
An important step to be taken is to have a variety of cannabis that has a low level of THC. We believe this can be done through developing the right industries, and focusing on extracting and concentrating to create a free supply that is available to people who suffer diseases and chronic pain. Now we have started to cultivate this type of cannabis, it for us is very useful. We believe for the future we can continue to create an even more effective product that can replace the type of plant, with emphasis placed on ensuring a role for CBD.
Miguel Candia (Chair): Thank you for demonstrating how countries continue to develop domestic institutions to find a new approach to future drug policy.
Eric Correia (Grand Gueret of France, member of NORML): I am in direct contact with patients, I am also the president of a French community, a real area of a significant proportion of unemployment and elderly. I am another activist to place real importance on protecting the health of the public. In France 0.4% of the population has admitted to making a medical use of cannabis every day, this is what I understood, and what I have understood has urged me further to make a strong commitment to the matter. In agreement in attempts to reduce levels of THC, it cannot account for more than 0.2% of the final product.
As an health professional I urge the call for patients, as an elected official I am calling for economic development. To authorise medical cannabis in France, my country, would be following what many states across the world have done. Cultivating cannabis use has opened up many new business streams which have proven to be greatly successful taking up great profits. Most importantly for patients throughout the world, we discuss a product less harmful than opioid.
Medical use of cannabis can be an economic opportunity, and is an economic opportunity. This common project that we share is demonstrating this crucial work with the public and to elected officials who only know cannabis from a criminal perspective. The French ministry has decided to create a specific committee involving the medical sector in France, and it has delivered its first conclusion for walking today on new turf. I would also like to insist that a medical notion must prevail in this matter when treating an individual. Therapeutic cannabis for human suffering has proven it can treat chronic pains and physical tremor. This is not about opposing a therapeutic proposal of opioid, but an alternative product. Our choice is one of life over pain, it’s because it’s our management of therapists over patients, it’s our duty to help people who are suffering and promote the voice of people who are cured in the healing process. Why should we bear anymore suffering if there are ways to reduce it? It must be available to any citizen, medical practitioner, any elected official, any human.
Miguel Candia (Chair):We always have to ensure that legislation always keeps in mind the human element. The SDG’s themselves place great focus on health and a framework to work within the UN system. Both for enforcing law and evolving law, we should keep human rights in the middle of this, with dialogue essential. One of the core things we can leave the room with is, national regulations are fundamental and the building blocks to a well-oiled response to the problem.
Diego Olivera (National Drug Board of the Republic of Uruguay): On legal terms we were the first country to complete regulation of legal activities of the cannabis plant and product. By law our regulation approved in December 2013, was approved in our parliament and this law established the legal framework to regulate cannabis production by the state who play an important role in this implementation. An approach based on public health, holds great importance and is the core of our approach, with a view for harm reduction. This opposed to use in the illegal market where damage is much higher, and a place for greater impact of narcotic trafficking and organised crime. This legal framework creates a new public institution for regulation and control of cannabis (IRCCA) who hold the ability to implement, move forward matters of regulation market and to have a relationship with the executive branch and say/propose modification in the cannabis implementation with the national drug board related to the presidency. The structure of IRCCA has a national board with the ministry of culture, ministry of public health, ministry of social development, National council with civil society and the academic sector. Our law is initially related to the issue of non-medical use and a policy concern in 2012/13, and includes the medical use and the industrial use as well for; regulating crops, commercialisation of cannabis for scientific purposes, medical purposes and human use relevant. All of these activities need an authorisation, (a license which is impossible without as such) the IRCCA delivered 16 authorisations with crops with more than 1% of THC.
For non-medical use is not the issue of this panel, but it’s important to note that the medical non-use is separate from medical production with a type of authorisation which have different structures and regulatory frameworks. To mandate people who want to access non-medical cannabis, our most important impact are in the well-being and health of non-medical cannabis users that are separate and away from the licit selling’s, education and well-being of society. What is clear, is a prevalent strong communication plan and an approach for health and economic development related to the legal industry in medical and scientific purposes.
Q) What evidence do we have of reduced crime in Uruguay since the change in cannabis legislation?
Diego Olivera (National Drug Board of the Republic of Uruguay): Uruguay thinks it is a very important matter to research the impacts. We have a strong view related to the academic sector approach including public institutions related to policy evaluation, and strong work related to cannabis and policy in our country. We think we need more time to complete implementation to make a strong conclusion, but the current estimation of legal cannabis produced for non-medical use is approximately superior to $22M dollars. Importantly if the legal regulation did not exist we would be buying criminals, yet instead we achieve our very strong objective to an economic impact in terms of dealing with organised crime in our country. The number of persons who incarcerated for drug offences are decreasing in our country, it also is very important to state the decrease of the population in shame, and we have seen in the last three years a decrease in the penalties related to marijuana in Uruguay.
Q) When introducing a system of medical marijuana you should have a national agency that buys all cannabis then distributes it, is this is the way it is done in Paraguay?
Dr. Cesar Arce (SENAD): I set out for this law of medical cannabis a need for a new office and a new authority for law application, it’s a condition to cultivate that it’s legal and a condition to monitor. The second step, is the minister of health has to give license to cultivate the use of oil, and ensure cannabis has a high level CBD, and a low level of THC.