Updated on August 8, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
In 2017, Peru’s Congress passed a bill that legalized medical marijuana. The law permits the production, commercialization and importation of cannabis oil. At the time of writing, Peru has yet to complete the regulations in this law. What actions will Peru take to regulate marijuana medicine? We can make some speculations based on requirements in other countries.
Countries like the United States and Canada have medical marijuana programs, while other nations such as the Netherlands only ask for a prescription. Each approach has its pros and cons for patients and the government.
If Peru establishes an official medicinal cannabis program, patients might have to go through extra steps to get medicine. Programs usually require paperwork in addition to a doctor’s approval. While this process makes it easier for the government to regulate cannabis, it also requires patients to jump through a few more hoops.
Treating cannabis medicine like prescription medication could increase access, but it depends on government guidelines for approved conditions.
The legal way to get cannabis medicine in Peru will significantly depend on the kinds of regulations the government creates. Patients have many options they could take advantage of, but it’s up to officials to decide which ones become legal.
If patients need to join a medical marijuana program or get a prescription, they will probably have to get approval from a doctor. The physician will need to determine if they have a qualifying condition as defined by regulations. Sometimes, the rules give medical professionals a lot of leeway when making this decision. On the other hand, some countries have a strict list of qualifying conditions doctors must follow carefully.
In March 2018, activists urged Peruvian officials to allow homegrown medicine as part of the country’s developing laws. Allowing patient cultivation could let patients circumvent any extra paperwork entirely.
Even in many countries with liberal cannabis laws, patients must renew their eligibility for cannabis medicine. If they need a prescription or medical marijuana program membership, they have to register again at regular intervals, which could be anywhere from a month to a year.
If Peruvians will need prescriptions for their marijuana medication, they will have to keep in touch with their doctor to get regular approval. They may also need to schedule more frequent medical appointments to keep a record of any side effects. Whether or not someone would have to see their doctor more often would depend on the physician’s judgment and any other regulations.
Medical marijuana program members would also have to see their doctor to renew their registration. As part of their renewal application, they would need to become certified by a physician again. These recertifications can often take a while to get approval.
Certain countries allow doctors to recommend or prescribe marijuana without extra training. Meanwhile, others need them to take a course and get a certification. These regulations are usually related to the rules for becoming eligible for medicinal marijuana, but not always. For example, some countries that require patients to sign up with the government let any licensed doctor write a cannabis recommendation.
Nurses and other kinds of medical professionals may be able to recommend marijuana varies, as well, depending on how Peru implements their legalization. We have yet to see what the Peruvian government will decide about medical professionals and cannabis medicine.
Since Peru is still developing medicinal cannabis regulations, you have the chance to help shape it. Contact the Ministry of Health to learn who you can voice your opinion to. You can also get involved with Buscando Esperanza, a prominent marijuana advocacy group.