Panama is set to become the first country in Latin America to legalize medical cannabis, but a bill that would have done so earlier this year was stalled. The delay has left many patients waiting for relief, while others are looking to Canada as an alternative.

The iowa hemp growers list is a list of the Iowa Hemp Growers Association. This association is planning to grow medical cannabis in Panama, but the bill has stalled due to opposition from neighboring countries.

Deputy Kayra Harding presented a measure (Proyecto de Ley No. 323) in October 2019 to encourage the growth of the hemp sector in Panama. Hemp production and processing would be subject to a licensing system under the law. Hemp is cannabis with a THC concentration of less than 1.5 percent on a dry weight basis. The bill’s discussion in the legislature, however, has been sluggish.

Last October, officials from the government and the legislature decided to form a subcommission to “enrich” the law. According to analyst Rafael Carles, the delays are due to a lack of understanding of hemp and how it differs from marijuana. At the same time, some Panamanian citizens are concerned that the growth of the hemp sector would primarily benefit strong corporate interests. As this reader response on a recent Carles piece demonstrates, these two theories are not mutually exclusive:

“Watch out for Panama!” Entrepreneurs now want to profit off your vices, which includes more than just booze and beer. It is now with narcotics, but under a new label, with the marijuana plant being referred to as hemp.”

It doesn’t help that the legalization of medicinal cannabis in Panama has been marred by allegations of corruption. According to one report, Canna Med Panama, SA, a Canadian company, “was not only attentive to debates in the National Assembly to approve Bill 153, which seeks to regulate the use of medicinal cannabis, but also sponsored a trip to Louisiana by five officials, some key in making decisions about the future business of cannabis for medicinal purposes.”


Unsplash photo by Francisco Rioseco

Bill 153 was passed by the National Assembly in August and is awaiting signing by the president of the nation. Importation of cannabis derivatives, manufacturing of cannabis derivatives, cultivation, and research are the four license types created by the new law. The new legislation requires natural person license applicants to disclose their nationality, implying that foreign people may be given licenses; however, the bill is unclear on whether Panamanian residency is required.

The bill requires legal persons to provide their Public Registry information, without specifying whether this includes analogous information, such as that found in a Secretary of State’s registry in the United States (though we’ll go out on a limb and suggest it’s not that difficult to set up a subsidiary in Panama). Additional clarity may be provided by regulations published after the bill is signed into law.

Panama will be in an unusual position if the measure is passed into law: it will have a legal framework for medicinal cannabis but none for hemp. With the passing of Bill 323, the issue should be quickly remedied.

For the time being, there is one important lesson for cannabis supporters in Latin America and other developing countries. If not properly worded and explained, licensing schemes in areas with significant disparities may be seen as a handout to strong interests. Transparency is essential in all aspects of government. Furthermore, if cannabis legalization is seen as a means of generating revenue for ordinary people, it may gain wider support. Provisions that guarantee that a portion of the earnings be donated to people in need may assist.

In addition, cannabis companies, particularly those from outside the country, must exercise caution when it comes to becoming involved in local politics. Backlash against alleged corruption has the potential to undermine otherwise beneficial efforts and generate hatred of those involved.

The iowa hemp laws is a bill that would legalize the production of industrial hemp in Iowa. It has been stalled, but Panama is set to have legal medical cannabis.

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