Medical Cannabis, Legalized

A while ago already, and ongoing, there was a political debate in Aruba and all parties agreed to support medicinal cannabis. The AZV board wrote a paper on it and informed GOA that it stands behind the introduction, in small steps, prescribed by doctors, distributed by boticas, where it will be handled just like any other restricted medicine such as opioids.

Last week, the MinHealth signed it into law, and with his signature legalized the use of medical cannabis here.

The MinPres came out in a statement immediately thereafter confirming that the legalization of recreational use is out of the question, and will not be permitted. To quote, she said that many families in Aruba are already suffering from the disease of addiction and while legal recreational use is out of the question, and punishable by law, there will be more funds dedicated to treatment and prevention of addiction.

The use of cannabis oils and creams is already wide-spread in Aruba. It is a thriving home-industry and bootleg potions are offered under every tree, but the quality is not guaranteed, and the prices vary.

When products will be imported by the boticas and taxed, they will be a source of income for the government, but as far as I understand, we will have to pay for what we need, out of our own pockets. AZV will not carry the cost, a la Netherlands, where the insurance companies decline to pay.

Thinking about it, there is probably very little use for medical cannabis in the Netherlands in view of the fact that all coffee-shops carry the weed and CBD oils is freely available.

Basically, GOA will make a list of approved products that may enter Aruba through wholesalers or pharmacies. Doctors then may prescribe, what pharmacies hand over to clients, and I will have to decide it my knees are worth it.

GOA will now work with the legal department on the nuts and bolts, God knows how long it will take. So note, medical cannabis products, not really anything to smoke.

One hurdle the legal department will have to overcome is the law on drugs which bundles cannabis with opioids. They will have to amend that legislation in order to make room for imports.

No, we’re not building a large, fenced and controlled, government-farm growing the weed and making the products. No, we will not be allowed to plant and harvest for personal use. No fancy dispensaries. No dedicated coffee-shop zone. No tax money fixing every crack in every road.     

The lobby against cannabis is still strong. The teachers’ union recently hit the alarm button stating that the legalization of cannabis will spell disaster in education and that many middle and high school students are already using, and worse, selling. They obviously meant recreational, which as indicated by the Minpres is not even a possibility.

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December 17, 2019
Rona Coster