Overview of Marijuana in Peru
Marijuana (cannabis, weed, marihuana) is not legal in Peru. The Peruvian Penal Code, however, does allow some leeway in terms of the possession of marijuana for personal use.
According to Article 299 (“Posesión No Punible,” or non-punishable possession), the possession of marijuana is not punishable if possessed for personal and immediate consumption in quantities not exceeding “eight grams of marijuana or two grams of derivatives.”
Importantly, Article 299 goes on to state that the possession of two or more types of drugs is a punishable offense (regardless of quantity). So, even if you are in possession of much less than the maximum eight grams of marijuana, you can still get into trouble if you’re carrying any other type of illegal drug, no matter the quantity. A person carrying, for example, one joint and one ecstasy pill could, in theory, find himself arrested as a drug dealer with a potential sentence of years.
The Reality of Marijuana Possession in Peru
The reality of marijuana possession in Peru goes far beyond the nation’s penal code. If you are caught in possession of two grams of marijuana (well below the non-punishable maximum), don’t expect to walk away without any problems.
The police in Peru, including the serenazgo, see drug possession as a crime, regardless of the laws of possession. If they think you are a drug dealer, you could find yourself in a cell for a few days. If a corrupt police officer stops you, those two grams could easily turn into a total nightmare.
As a rule, buying and possessing marijuana in Peru is a risk and one you should consider avoiding, especially if you’re not familiar with the local culture and local systems. Carrying eight grams or less may be legal according to Article 299, but the reality can be far more severe.
If you do get into trouble for carrying a legal amount for personal use, you could try seeking help from your embassy in Peru or perhaps the Peruvian tourist police. How much help you’ll actually receive is another question entirely.
Views of Marijuana Among the Peruvian Population
If you’re going to smoke weed in Peru, keep in mind that the level of tolerance for marijuana and local opinions of marijuana smokers might be significantly different than in your own country.
Marijuana usage in Peru (especially outside the major cities) is nowhere near as open or accepted as it is in parts of Europe and the USA. Some Peruvians see all drugs in the same way, no matter whether they are soft or hard drugs. Open cannabis usage can, therefore, provoke some extreme reactions, so discretion is always a good idea.
You will occasionally see Peruvians smoking weed in the street and in bars and clubs. Don’t assume that this is OK with everyone around you (and remember that some dubious police officials might jump at the chance to arrest a foreign tourist).
Potential Risks When Buying Weed in Peru
If you want to buy some weed in Peru, be careful. Obviously, it’s always best to buy less than eight grams of marijuana, as anything over that is officially illegal.
Beyond the quantity, be particularly careful with who and where you make the purchase. You could be the tourist that heads off with a self-proclaimed cannabis dealer, only to come back with no wallet, no passport, and no weed.
Never go anywhere alone to buy marijuana; take at least one friend or, ideally, make your purchase in a place where you can’t be easily mugged. If someone wants you to go down an alleyway, get into a car, or go to an apartment, be very cautious indeed, especially if it’s someone you’ve only just met.
Marijuana is not legal in Peru, but possession of small quantities is officially not a crime. Learn the laws so you can avoid any trouble.
Market development of the cannabis in Peru
It has been three years since the incident which altered the perception and use of Cannabis in Peru. It is important to conduct an analysis of the current situation, both inside and outside of the country, in order to take a direct look at the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and how society has responded to the inclusion of this product in the respective regulatory framework.
On February 8, 2017, a marijuana laboratory was found in an apartment in the district of San Miguel, Lima – Peru. This event was intended to be only a successful police intervention until the background of the case was uncovered: an asso-ciation, called Looking for Hope, cultivated this plant to use its oil in patients with disease that needed special treatment provided by this plant (El Comercio, 2017). As a result, multiple protests were generated in the capital demanding the legalization of cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes.
Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, enacted Law No. 30681 (El Peruano, 2020) regulating the medicinal and therapeutic use of cannabis. This generated expectations in many companies, who saw in the enacted law the possibility of obtaining substantial economic gains due to the nascent industry that would be generated.
What is cannabis?
Cannabis is a family of plants that is mainly subdivided in two: Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. Marijuana, as it is popularly known, can belong to both. However, hemp, used primarily for medicinal purposes, is only found in the Sativa family. This plant is mainly composed of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and Cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is an intoxicating compound that produces a state of psychoneurotic disorder. As a general rule, marijuana that is consumed as a psychotropic is one that has high levels of this component. According to Rodríguez (Rodriguez, 2012), what is sought out when consuming marijuana is the balance between relaxation and euphoria. The higher the concentration, the greater the eupho- ria and duration of the effect. This use can be classified as recreational.
CBD, on the other hand, is the component characterized by its relationship with medicine. Its main characteristic is that it provides a state of relaxation without generating euphoria. Several studies indicate that its use brings great medical benefits for different types of patients. In the case of people with terminal diseases such as cancer, it has been shown to improve their quali- ty of life. It has also been effective for diseases that can trigger epileptic episodes, Parkinson’s and other similar conditions; supporting and even replacing traditional medicine.
How does this affect the peruvian market
According to media, the growth of marijuana consumption is on the rise (Sausa, 2017). Back in 2010 the recorded percentage of Peruvians who used marijuana was at 5.6%. In 2017, this percentage rose to 8.1%. The increase in users provides clear indication that the market will have new, active and fixed users. Therefore, the Peruvian market is one of the most sought after to invest in.
According to research, a bag of 4 grams is sold between 5 to 10 soles and a kilo can cost between 1500 to 2500 soles, generating large economic movements. On the other hand, the medicinal sale could reach 1,500 million dollars (El Comercio, 2019).
This figure is directly related to statistics that indicate that there will be a fixed base of 10,000 customers and with a tendency to increase. In that same aspect, it is expected that the creation of about 250 thousand jobs. For these reasons, large transnational entities seek to establish branches on national land, as they expect large profits and a great increase in their prestige with customers.
It is worth mentioning that, the only medicinal provider is DIGEMID, which is our national institutional pharmacy. The sale of medicinal oil is priced at approximately 50 soles, containing a mixture of 5% CBD and 0.4% THC in 10 milliliters. Which is mentioned that has amazing medical results that replace conventional medicine.
As we mentioned, the use of medical cannabis is related to medicinal aid against a large number of diseases and syndromes. For example, in psychiatric cases such as bulimia and depression, patients can be treated with cannabis, since it improves mood and appetite. Moreover, in terminal illnesses such as Cancer and AIDS, it can be observed that there are improvements in physical pain, prevention of nausea and vomiting induced by treatments. CANNA adds that in cases of Epilepsy and Parkinson’s where involuntary movements occur, cannabis has been shown to drastically reduce these episodes (Agirregoitia, 2017).
Even the official newspaper “El Peruano” indicates that approximately 40 thousand people could benefit from the legalization of the medicinal use of cannabis (Garay, 2019). These people could enjoy a better quality of life.
However, it has been shown that the current Law has not been very effective, since to date there is no entity with any type of sales and research license. Therefore, the only provider remains the General Directorate of Medicines, Supplies and Drugs (DIGEMID).
In addition, the concentration or percentage of necessary medicinal input for sale may not be effective for all cases. Some diseases require a higher degree of CBD. However, due to a lack of market and complementary provisions, the real need of consumers who need CBD cannot yet be met.
It is worth mentioning, this Peruvian regulation mentions that there should be a coordination with three ministries: health, agriculture and interior, however, there is no type of protocol between them.
We must take as an example, the neighboring country Colombia, where more than 200 licenses have been emitted, resulting in 1500 foreign companies seeking to be licensed, having an estimated investment of 60 million dollars, and also granting the opportunity for citizens to improve their quality of life (López, 2019).
From the aforementioned, it can be affirmed that Peru does not have completesatisfaction from all its customers, since it only sells a single mixture of oil proportion. There is a lack of coordination between the rele- vant ministries to regulate the delivery of licenses to companies. However, there is hope in Peruvian citizens who suffer from different medical conditions, that the state can begin to define and expedite different procedures so that those who need the product can access it safely.
Market development of the cannabis in Peru It has been three years since the incident which altered the perception and use of Cannabis in Peru. It is important to conduct an analysis of the