HLG Global team helps build legal strategy for a lawsuit against the State and the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa)
A major flower and potato producer now wants to plant hemp to produce fiber, food, and especially medicines. The company Schoenmaker Humako, which is part of the Terra Viva Group, has filed a lawsuit against the State and the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), for the right to plant hemp and to make medicines, tissues, and food. Today in Brazil, cannabis is an absolutely prohibited plant: it is forbidden to grow a single plant in the country, even if it does not contain THC. The only exception to this prohibition is 37 individuals and one association who have earned the right in court to cultivate for their own use out of medical necessity.
“Clearly there is an unmet demand for CBD in Brazil, with an immense delay in the import process for patients in need and a very high cost of imports,” says Fernando Casado, commercial manager of Terra Viva. The company, which turns 60 next month, was founded by a Dutch couple based in the city of Holambra, known as the capital of flowers. In addition to making tulips and other flowers, the company is a major producer of potatoes, oranges, corn, and soy. “The group has a company in the Netherlands too. As the medical use of cannabis has already been regulated there, we are closely following the CBD market, and alert to the opportunity.”
Brazil, a country with a lot of sunshine, has great potential for hemp cultivation.
But the country has fallen behind: the United States, Canada, China and almost all of Europe, especially the east, have already regulated the cultivation and occupied large areas with it. “It is possible that Brazil is, in fact, the best country in the world for the production of industrial hemp,” wrote agronomist Lorenzo Rolim da Silva, in his opinion that supports the action. “We believe it could be a more profitable crop for national agribusiness than grain crops,” says Casado.
Terra Viva’s lawyers argue that hemp is not prohibited in Brazil: what is forbidden is marijuana. Although it is the same plant species, it is easy to ensure that only varieties without THC (or with minimal indices) are planted – just control the movement of seeds, as is done worldwide. The marijuana ban in Brazil is based on international UN conventions, which explicitly make exceptions for the production of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes. Terra Viva is asking for permission to import seeds and start planting immediately – “we want to be the first”.
The action anticipates Anvisa’s ongoing process to regulate the planting of Cannabis for drug extraction. ANVISA has promised this month to complete this process and create rules for production despite open opposition from the federal government. Lawyers argue that it is Anvisa’s responsibility to regulate medicines made from THC, an outlawed substance, but not hemp. “Anvisa would only regulate the CBD extracted from the plants.”