With around 45 million hemp users, Argentina is said to be Latin America’s fourth-biggest cannabis market. But just like in most parts of Latin and South America, hemp laws in Argentina have been pretty restrictive until recently, mostly due to the confusion between hemp and marijuana.
If you live in Argentina or plan to use hemp flowers while visiting it, you need to be aware of the latest Argentinian laws about it. Otherwise, as is common in the cannabis business, things can get very ugly pretty fast.
So, here’s what you need to know about hemp flowers in Argentina.
Why Argentina has been so strict about hemp
Latin America is not new to hemp. Reports of hemp flower cultivation in Latin America date as far as the 1500s. But in most of modern history, hemp has been illegal and criminalized in Argentina like most Latin American countries. Why? Mainly because law enforcement agencies failed to appreciate the difference between hemp and marijuana.
So, what is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Physically, none. Both are derived from the cannabis plant and look and smell exactly the same. This is one reason why the police were so stringent about hemp flowers. Farmers (and marijuana dealers) would often grow and sell marijuana under the pretense of hemp.
The real difference between the two is chemical. Both contain a cannabinoid called THC (which can make you addicted to marijuana) but hemp flowers contain a far smaller amount of THC than marijuana.
This is why all the benefits of hemp flowers can be reaped without running the risk of addiction caused by THC.
How the Argentinian laws on hemp have evolved
As Latin America and other parts of the world began to recognize the therapeutic potential of hemp flowers, so did Argentina. And that led to a loosening of the legal noose around hemp flowers.
Although the Argentinian Supreme Court had decriminalized the use of cannabis for health purposes back in 2009, the first real step in hemp legalization was taken in 2017, when the country’s Senate approved the Medical Cannabis Law.
This law completely legalized hemp flower usage for health purposes. Under the law, patients requiring CBD must register with a national program run by the health ministry.
This law, however, was still restrictive as hemp was still illegal to cultivate at home, and only government and research organizations could cultivate it.
Under this law, personal cultivation was punishable by two years of prison, and commercial cultivation could land you in jail for 15 years. This, of course, deprived a large percentage of the population of the therapeutic benefits of hemp flowers. At the time, hemp’s potential was being tapped reluctantly and only for limited diseases (like childhood epilepsy) until 2017.
So, is hemp legal in Argentina?
Yes, but only for medical use.
On November 12, 2020, Argentina further relaxed its hemp laws. Although hemp flower is still legal for medicinal purposes, users can now cultivate their hemp at home.
The new law also allows users to get hemp-derived creams, oils, and other therapeutics at authorized pharmacies as well as compensation for hemp-related therapeutics from insurance companies.
Finally, the new law broadens the scope of diseases that can be treated using CBD-derived products. Before this law, only drug-resistant, childhood epilepsy was legally allowed to be treated with CBD.
So, if you don’t have a prescription for medical hemp, your safest option of getting it in Argentina is to order it online from a company that ships it discreetly, and hope your order doesn’t get stopped at the border!
Is growing hemp flowers legal in Argentina?
Currently, hemp cultivation is allowed only on a private, limited scale.
If you’re looking to start a hemp company, the Argentinian laws might still take some time in clarifying rules on commercial cultivation.
However, you should be aware that several American companies have expressed interest in starting commercial hemp operations in Argentina, and the country is looking forward to introducing bills that make the process possible.
Should a commercial hemp law get introduced in Argentina, you should know that it would not allow companies to grow plants with a THC concentration of more than 1%. Because that’s marijuana!