This article was originally published in Portuguese on the Sechat website on February 12, 2023.
The approval and subsequent sanction of the bill that provides for the supply of Cannabis-based medicines in the public health system in São Paulo is, above all, a victory of civil society. Serving as the driving force behind the parliamentary action, the active citizenship of patients, families, physicians, entrepreneurs, and lawyers, as well as innovative organizations and platforms, such as The Green Hub and the Institute for Social and Economic Research on Cannabis (Ipsec), was of crucial importance in informing and mobilizing society, which manifested itself through the more than 40,000 signatures on a public petition in favor of PL 1.180/2019. Now, we are in a hurry to advance in the regulation process so that the new law can come into force as soon as possible.
As president of the Humanitas360 Institute, I am proud to have stood side by side with these people and organizations, which now celebrate the possibility of bringing relief to thousands of families from São Paulo who wait for democratic access to treatments based on cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol – components extracted from Cannabis for the production of medicines already authorized by Anvisa and widely referenced by the most advanced studies in the area. There are many ailments that can be remedied or attenuated through medical Cannabis, such as Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, and anxiety. The right of families to bring this relief to their loved ones should always stand above any prejudice and misinformation about the plant.
As an activist for this cause for more than 10 years, I was proud to participate in the discussions about Cannabis in the Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo prior to this approval. In a public hearing that dealt with the technology and innovation aspects associated with the plant, I was able to get a closer look at the work of the pioneering Parliamentary Front for the Defense of Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp, through which state legislators have put aside party differences in the name of the common good.
The work of the Parliamentary Front can and should be replicated in other legislative assemblies and city councils, expanding access to these medicines to various corners of the country. This, however, should not make us lose sight of the need to pass a national Cannabis Law. It is necessary to get the federal Bill nº 399/2015, which authorizes medicines with components extracted from Cannabis throughout Brazil, out of the drawer. We don’t have time to lose.