On October 15, 2021, the Panamanian government published Law 242 on Regulating the Medicinal Use of Cannabis in the Official Gazette.
According to a press release issued by Panama’s National Legislative Assembly, supporters of the law with expertise on the medical uses of cannabis have stated that the use of cannabis will provide relief to individuals who suffer from a number of medical conditions, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, nausea caused by chemotherapy, and chronic pain.
Some patients reportedly have had to smuggle cannabis products into the country to treat such ailments in the absence of a legal option.
To address this issue, the approved law provides that Panama’s Ministry of Health (MOH) will have the authority to issue licenses (valid for 10 years and renewable) to manufacture and commercialize medicinal cannabis products, which will be subject to strict control systems.
Accordingly, the MOH will have the duty to establish a registry of patients whose conditions require treatment with cannabis products. The registry must include pertinent information such as required dosage, frequency of treatment, and physicians authorized to prescribe cannabis medications. This information is to be kept confidential.
The law provides that during the first five years after it is passed into law, the MOH is to approve a maximum of seven manufacturing licenses, which will allow the MOH to monitor the gradual development of the market for these products.
Furthermore, the law provides that the Ministry of Agriculture has the authority to issue permits to license holders to grow cannabis plants for the manufacturing of medicinal cannabis products. Authorized growers can also import cannabis seeds and plants.The law provides that pertinent regulations are to be issued within 90 days.