In the News from Panama

Panama Approves Regulations for Medical Marijuana

President Laurentino Cortizo signed two laws this week that will pave the way for the rollout of medical marijuana in Panama.

The new decrees regulate Law 242, officially approved last October, which legalized the medicinal and therapeutic use of cannabis and its derivatives. The new laws regulate the use of medical marijuana and establish a framework for supervising its use in the country.

A National Directorate for the Monitoring of Activities Related to Medical Cannabis will be attached to the Ministry of Public Security for the “control, surveillance and supervision of the required activities.” The regulation also protects the data of patients enrolled in the program.

The President said, “the marketing of the products will be done under strict import control with a traceability program that includes monitoring, from the cultivation areas to the laboratories and final sale points.”

The medicinal marijuana law was one of the first approved in Central America and is focused on delivering help to patients in need. The government has been wrestling with how to best implement the law and regulate imports, with a focus on developing the industry within Panama.

“Our intention is to promote in the medium and long term the establishment of local and foreign companies that can supply the domestic market, using raw material produced in Panama,” the President said.

He also emphasized that the regulations leave open the door for more foreign involvement.

“It is important to note that we are inviting research centers with greater recognition worldwide, specialized institutes and universities, to establish themselves in Panama with the aim of conducting clinical studies that benefit our country and the world,” he said.

The new law has been debated and reworked for years, making this progress an important step. The personal use of marijuana is still forbidden. 

“We are pleased to be able to deliver this resource to the thousands of Panamanians who for years have been waiting for this medicinal alternative,” Cortizo said.