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by Diego Ures[1]

After years of debate and discussion in the São Paulo Legislative Assembly, a new state law providing free access to cannabidiol-based medicines through Brazil’s universal public healthcare system, the Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS), was finally approved in December 2022. This new law has now been sanctioned by the newly elected governor of the State of São Paulo, Tarcísio de Freitas of the Republicanos party.

This new legislation, authored by Mr. Caio França of the PSB party, has the full support of Governor Freitas, who plans to establish a working group to regulate the policy. The focus of the new law is to provide cannabidiol for the treatment of rare syndromes. According to Governor Freitas, this new policy will put São Paulo at the forefront of providing cannabis-based medicines through the SUS for various medical conditions.

This move marks a departure from the previous president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro of the PL party, who promoted a disinformation campaign about the medicinal use of cannabis. Bolsonaro associated the decriminalization of marijuana in Uruguay with an increase in homicides in that country, despite a lack of scientific evidence.

However, Governor Freitas, a political ally of Bolsonaro, differs from his former president by supporting the medicinal use of cannabis. Patients who wish to obtain cannabidiol-based medicines will need to register with the State Secretary of Health.

This new law represents a significant step forward in the use of medicinal cannabis in Brazil, and sets a positive example for other states to follow. By providing access to cannabis-based medicines through the SUS, São Paulo is showing its commitment to improving the health and well-being of its citizens. With the support of Governor Freitas, this new policy is set to revolutionize the way medical conditions are treated in São Paulo and beyond.

[1] Mr. Diego Ures is Sidera Consult’s partner, an international trade and market access expert, as well as the leader of the Investment team since 2014. He’s a graduate of the University of South Carolina and the University of Bern in Switzerland.

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