Panama greenlights medicinal and therapeutic use of cannabis

Panamanian President Nito Cortizo (second from right) signing a decree regulating the medicinal use of cannabis in the country. Photo: Nito Cortizo / Twitter

President Laurentino Cortizo of Panama signed two decrees last week regulating access to the medicinal, scientific, and therapeutic use of cannabis and other marijuana-derivated products throughout the country. 

According to Mr. Cortizo, granting permission for processed cannabis consumption will “provide relief to thousands of patients.” 

Nowadays, several countries allow the use of the plant’s derivatives to treat chronic diseases such as epilepsy and schizophrenia. However, despite some advances, the “pace of legislative change across Latin America remains glacial,” says a report by LabsNews. 

During the same announcement, Mr. Cortizo said the sale of plant-based products in Panama will be carried out under “strict import control” — the new traceability regime will monitor production from cultivation areas to the labs and final points of sale.

To do that, the government also created the National Directorate for the Monitoring of Activities Related to Medical Cannabis, an office that will work under the umbrella of the Panamanian Public Security Ministry to provide “surveillance and supervision,” said Mr. Cortizo. The Cortizo administration also plans to use the green light to ease a future profitable market, hoping to supply local and foreign companies “with raw materials produced in Panama.” Studies suggest that the global cannabis market is projected to reach USD 90.4 billion by 2026.