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Will Argentina's new cannabis laws harm the environment?

In May 2022, the Argentine Congress passed a law regulating the medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp industry. Nine months on, Argentina is taking its first steps in the production, marketing, and export of the drug, exploring a market that is still in its infancy, but whose value could reach US$450 million over the next decade, according to official estimates.

With 45 projects focused on the research and development of cannabis already underway in the country, questions are being raised about the potential environmental impact of the nascent industry, both at the cultivation stage and in its subsequent processing. Consulted by Diálogo Chino, industry experts agreed that this is an underexplored field, although some international studies show potential risks and benefits.

“We are at a very early stage,” acknowledges Lorena Drewes, who participated in the drafting of the new regulations and is currently a consultant for the Federal Investment Council (CFI), a public body that supports economic development at the provincial level.

Debates surrounding cannabis in Argentina gathered pace in May last year, when President Alberto Fernández enacted Law 27.669, which provided a regulatory framework for public and private investment in the entire value chain. The law complemented another from 2017, which boosted scientific and medical research on the drug, but only allowed production by the federal government for health purposes.


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