Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Parents of a 4-year old Brazilian who suffers from cerebral palsy and West syndrome obtained permission from a judge in the region of Minas Gerais to grow enough marijuana to produce medicine from the plant.
Judge Antonio Jose Pecego, a criminal court jurist in Uberlandia, the second largest municipality in the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil, justified the decision by characterizing it as a protection of the rights to life, dignity and health, Brazilian media Extra reported.
"Nothing could bring more justice than the intervention of the Judiciary Power to guaranty and assure the minor a dignified, healthy means to life," he wrote in a decision from last week, Extra reported Tuesday.
For a year, the parents have used the plant to produce medicinal oil to treat the child, who was born with cerebral palsy and later developed West syndrome, and suffered from epilepsy attacks.
The father, who requested he not be identified, said previous treatment with valproate sodium, Topiramate and Clonazepam left the child unconscious for about 20 hours a day, forcing the parents to seek alternative treatment methods.
Even as the production of the cannabis oil remains artisanal, it produced significant improvement in the boy's well-being and eliminated need for frequent visits to intensive treatment units.
The media said that the parent's lawyer, Daniela Peon, argued that the parents did not have enough income to import cannabis oil, and asked for permission to grow plants in the house.
The mother has limited disposable hours to work, due to the need to care for the ill child. The father, a government worker, cannot afford to buy the imported medicine, the attorney said in court.
"We have to make the government see the need to make life easier for these people, and regulate cultivation for medicinal purposes, because [cannabis oil] imports depend on the dollar exchange rate. If in-house cultivation is possible, it is necessary to give people this option," the lawyer told Extra.
The medicinal use of cannabis has been approved in Brazil but implementation has been slow, leaving it heavily controlled.
In March, Medical Marijuana Inc, the first publicly traded cannabis company in the U.S., said its Brazilian subsidiary Hemp Meds Brazil was the first company authorized by Brazilian authorities to import a cannabis oil-based product.
According to a GQ Globo report, as of July 4,617 people had authorization from health regulator Anvisa to buy cannabis oil abroad.
Carolina Heinz, vice president of the San Diego-based company that is the parent of Hemp Meds Brazil, told GQ at the time that the product "remains too expensive for most Brazilians." As of July, the company had over 1,500 Brazilians buying its cannabis oil. If production within Brazil was possible, prices would be lower, it said.
Marijuana Business Daily said in April that Brazil, with a population of more than 200 million, is poised to eventually become the largest Latin America medical cannabis market.
In South America, the only country where marijuana is completely legal is Uruguay.