I’ve always wondered, is weed legal in Brazil? Would it be safe to buy and sell cannabis-based medicines in the country?
Before you go on your journey and decide to move to Brazil because of their Cannabis laws, you have to read this guide! Unlike all guides you’ll find online, our guide will be complete and comprehensive in discussing the laws circulating Cannabis in Brazil!
History of Cannabis Cultivation in Brazil
Although there’s no concrete proof of when it started, reports and research suggest that the Latin America country first saw its own cultivation project in the 16th century.
Before, hemp fibers, plants, and other products imported were legal. It was when business owners saw a discrepancy with labor that they sought the law about it.
These plant seeds were brought by African slaves, particularly from Angola. The use of this plant and such products have been spread to different social classes.
Now, the country’s doors have been opened, and many Brazilians are known to have been using it both for medical and recreational purposes.
DID YOU KNOW: Back in the 1800s, slave-owners saw Cannabis Sativa as the culprit to reduced productivity. It was called to be banned and prohibited in 1830, having penalties and apprehensions for offenders.
Due to the tropical climate of the country, Brazil can replace China as the world’s largest hemp producer, especially since Brazil is considering cannabis as part of the many treatment options.
Is Weed Legal in Brazil in 2023?
In technicality, the possession of cannabis plants and cannabis products in Brazil remains illegal and prohibited. But, the penalties for offenders have been reduced due to the latest Drug Law of 2006.
This New Drug Law helped decriminalize the consumption of either recreational or medical cannabis in personal amounts. The deal? — whoever was caught “acquiring, keeping, storing, transporting, carrying, or using cannabis products are to receive the following apprehensions,”
- Serious warning about drug impact
- Community service, program, or education course
NOTE: About 32% of the total population believed that this regulation would reduce drug trafficking and other illegal drug use in the country.
Nevertheless, cultivation, selling, and storing cannabis for industrial purposes are still prohibited by the Brazilian Congress.
Don’t worry, though, because, from 2021, there have been bills asking for the legalization of this controlled substance. This would include the use of cannabis for both medical and industrial purposes.
Possession of Cannabis in Brazil
I know what you want to ask. What if I’m caught in possession of marijuana or cannabis? What would happen?
Since weed has been decriminalized in the country for medicinal purposes, it is within the law that the judge should consider:
- Where the product was seized
- Nature, origin, and quantity of cannabis
- Condition(s) it happened
- History of the apprehended
- Personal circumstances
Is CBD Legal For the Brazilian Chamber?
Yes, it is legal in Brazil to acquire products derived from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) for medical and medicinal purposes.
However, this is regarded as a medicine and not a supplement.
Moreover, it will only be allowed if the situations are qualified for ANVISA’s clearance which is clinical data that demonstrates safety and efficacy for the intended indication, and the Good Manufacturing Practice Certification of the manufacturer.
Using Medical Cannabis in Brazil
In 2015, Brazil’s National Sanitary Vigilance Agency permitted the use of Sativex, a medicinal cannabis product for patients who had multiple sclerosis. This led the way to the permission of other medicinal cannabis sativa or other cannabis-based products for patients.
For instance, cannabis oil for patients that had microcephaly, CBD for people who are epileptic, etc.
ANVISA allowed the private use of marijuana or cannabis in 2016 for terminally ill patients. Slowly but surely, personal use of marijuana is being walked even by conservative lawmakers because of its efficacy.
Cannabis variants that are tobacco products or cosmetics DO NOT COUNT AND QUALIFY AS CANNABIS FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES. THEY’RE STILL ILLEGAL.
Under Resolution RDC No. 327, cannabis products that can be used for medicinal purposes must:
- Only be for oral or nasal administration,
- Primarily have CDB and THC, must be duly registered with authorities
- Not be advertised and/or marketed
- Be of pharmaceutical quality for the use of humans
- Not have trade names — should be identified via the name of the plant
- Not contain substances that could be toxic and dangerous at particular dosages
- Be free from either semi-synthetic or synthetic origin
- Not be commercialized in the form of a plant drug made
- Remain the same from release
Check the full list of qualifications for medical cannabis in Brazil here.
Can You Sell Cannabis in Brazil?
Unfortunately no, the sale of cannabis has never been part of the legislation brought about by the ANVISA in 2006.
As a matter of fact, the sale of industrial cannabis — whether it’s recreational cannabis, industrial cannabis, or even medical cannabis that hasn’t been authorized is a more serious offense than consumption.
Today, only three companies have duly been authorized for the process of cultivation, harvesting, handling, and distributing cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes — they are Apepi and Abrace.
NOTE: It is also against the narrowly approved law to grow cannabis anywhere in the country.
Industrial Hemp in Brazil
In the same year (2015), the ANVISA allowed derived marijuana plant substances for medicinal purposes. Recently, just in 2019, they also allowed international cannabis companies to import in bulk, given that the products are going to be authorized and prescribed by professional healthcare professionals.
DID YOU KNOW: There are medical cannabis researchers, fanatics, and cancer patients that join the event? Yes, it's not all about business. In fact, the majority of the demographic that attends these are mostly concerned about being seen as illegal drugs instead of medicine.
Progress of the Legislation
From the time marijuana or cannabis was permitted, a series of declined and approved statements have been passed. However, in August 2020, a drafted bill was sent to the Brazilian congress, allowing cultivation from local farmers.
Then, on the 8th of June 2021, this bill was approved — it legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal and industrial purposes.
However, note that the law will be assessed and reviewed in December of this year.
President Jair Bolsonaro, the President-Elect in 2018, said that it is highly unlikely for the government to approve this. President Bolsonaro is a conservative President and does not side in favor of the bill passed about it.
NOTE: A total of 27 bills have been passed as of 2021. These bills revolve around similar topics about hemp and marijuana, which is to legalize the cultivation and use, permit manufacturing in the country, allow recreational cannabis consumption legal, etc.
Will Cannabis Be Legalized in the Future?
If you’ve been indulging in marijuana for personal use for quite some time now, then you would know about the Marijuana March.
This is a world-renowned event where activists and cannabis believers come together with the hopes of legalizing marijuana.
The event takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in March of every year, and was lit up back in 1999. Since then, thousands of people flock and fly to Rio every year to fight for what they think is better for the people.
If you feel like you have a few other questions that remain unanswered, here’s a list of the most asked questions about cannabis and marijuana in Brazil.
What Are Some Precautions Before Smoking Weed in Brazil?
Since it’s illegal to smoke weed in Brazil, the first consideration you want to consider is that you have to purchase it exclusively. Moreover, it would help if you smoked in a place that is (1) safe and (2) secure.
Are There Any Legal Smokable Herbs That Can Get You High?
Yes, there are a few herbal plants that you can use for you to get that kick. Among the many, the best and most popular ones include Salvia, Blue Skullcap, marshmallow root, and Passionflower. These are mostly sedatives that give a calm and mellow effect on both your brain and your body.
How Much Does Weed Cost in Brazil?
The rates and prices for weed and cannabis in Brazil, particularly in the Rio de Janeiro region, are about $0.50 to $15 and $20 per gram. In the U.S. and the U.K., this rate can be as high as $200.
Is it Safe to Travel With Marijuana Edibles on a Plane?
No, even if they’re edibles and not really in the form of the drug, taking it on a plane is considered illegal. This can put you in a dangerous position, as structured by the Transportation Security Administration or the TSA.
Can I Grow My Own Medical Cannabis?
In Brazil, no, home cultivation of cannabis is not allowed. When caught, you could face penalties and can even send you behind bars for doing so. However, in other countries — the U.S., for example, California and New York allowed the personal use of cannabis, while in Hawaii and Maryland, growing cannabis has been allowed. Florida and Arkansas have been allowed, but only for growing the plants at home.
The Bottom Line:
So, is weed legal in Brazil? The answer depends. Back in 2006, private and medical use of marijuana was allowed. Clearly, when caught in public, you’ll be given a warning or required to attend courses or community service.
The lesson here is that unless you are at a place where cannabis is openly legal, don’t risk it. Nevertheless, learning whether cannabis is allowed in Brazil or not is important in making sure that you are kept safe.