Panama lawmakers voted unanimously to become the seventh Latin American country (the first in Central America) to legalize medical cannabis. Home cultivation remains illegal, illegal production and sale of cannabis are still punishable by up to 10-15 years in prison, and cannabis advertising remains prohibited.
The bill allows for research on the plant, but commercial cultivation will be limited and the country will rely on imports for pill and liquid forms of cannabis. Pharmacies must apply for a permit to sell medical cannabis and pass a site inspection. The bill requires the creation of a medical cannabis patient registry. The Ministry of Health will be in charge of distributing medical cannabis products to licensed pharmacies.
It is expected that Costa Rica could become the second Central American country to legalize marijuana when it will take up a bill to legalize medical cannabis and hemp later this month.
Panama’s measure includes language allowing medical cannabis for pets.