Argentina launches agency to guide hemp, medical cannabis

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Argentina has officially launched an agency in support of industrial hemp and medical cannabis, the latest in a string of key moves that show the government is serious about developing the industries.

The Regulatory Agency for the Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis Industry (ARICCAME) aims to normalize and promote the country’s cannabis industry for its potential to create new jobs and exports.

‘Opens the door’

“This opens the door for Argentina to start a new path in terms of industrial exports, on the basis of huge global demand,” Economy Minister Sergio Massa said upon the launch of the new agency last week.

Argentina’s Ministry of Science said earlier this month that it is committing more than $106 million in 13 research and development projects in cannabis. And the government last October created a technology company aimed at advancing the industrial hemp and medical cannabis sectors, which it has estimated could generate 10,000 new jobs, $500 million in domestic sales and $50 million in exports annually.

Francisco Echarren, mayor of the Castelli municipality and a former Director of Development of Works at the Ministry of Transportation, was named to head the new agency.

‘Huge challenge ahead’

“We have a huge challenge ahead of us. Not only getting a new industry on its feet, but giving millions of Argentines access to products that improve quality of life,” said Echarren.

The government is advancing a whole-plant strategy for hemp that aims to exploit the crop for its health and environmental benefits in addition to its potential for economic development.

Argentina’s general law establishing a legal framework for cannabis products, derivatives and seeds was passed in early 2022.

ARICCAME will now establish a regulatory framework for the entire production chain and clear rules for the sector. The agency is also tasked with setting up licensing and rules for the import, export, cultivation, industrial production, manufacture, and commercialization of cannabis products.

ARRICAME’s portfolio

Other responsibilities of the new agency are to:

  • Reintroduce hemp in Argentina as food, construction materials, textile fiber, cellulose and bioplastics;
  • Promote a new agro-industrial sector for the commercial manufacture of medicines, phytotherapeutics, food and cosmetics for human use, and medicines and food for veterinary use;
  • Promote research and technological progress;
  • Guarantee the traceability and quality of the products in order to safeguard consumer health;
  • Cooperate with state agencies and universities.

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