Marijuana grows in Latin America?

While Peru has just approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, in Chile a candidate running for congress wants to legalize all drugs

Leer en Español: ¿La marihuana crece en Latinoamérica?

The Peruvian Congress approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Although the incentive was approved by a total of 67 congressmen, it generated a nationwide debate as the country is fighting a battle against drug trafficking; the nation’s level of production of coca leaves puts it in the first place for its consumption.  

The incentive, widely supported by the scientific sector, has dedicated a great effort to clarifying that the new measure is not about consuming marijuana for recreational purposes, but, rather, to extract its medicinal components to treat some specific diseases.

It will also allow the production and supply of marijuana for research; for patients to be able to acquire the medicine, they will need to fill out a registry in which important information will be known, such as the disease from which the person suffers, the doctor treating the illness, the dose, and frequency in which the person needs to consume the medication. This form will be confidential and used only for governmental control, assured various congressmen.

Read also: Is Marijuana legal in Latin America?

This new incentive must now receive the approval of the Executive branch and then its corresponding publication in the official registry to officially take effect; this must be in a period of no more than 60 days.

This situation came about after the controversial case involving the National Police and a clandestine laboratory where medicinal oil was being extracted from cannabis in the hopes to treat sick children with terminal diseases. Due to this, the Esperanza association, which is made up a parents of kids with various illnesses, lobbied the bill in order to receive the needed majority to make their dream a reality. Today, these members are celebrating their triumph and what they hope will be the well being of their loved ones.

Read also: Uruguay: A new marijuana economy?

Due to this new political measure, Peru joins the select group of Latin American countries where marijuana has been approved for medicinal purposes. Uruguay, back in 2013, was the only country where the use of recreational marijuana ceased to be illegal. Years later, in 2017, pharmacies were allowed to sell the drug. However, this brought negative consequences which forced the government to reduce the number of authorized sellers.  

Since then, several Latin American countries have sought to approve similar pieces of legislation; only Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina have passed laws authorizing the cultivation and use of marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes.

The cousin of the current Chilean President, Vivienne Bachelet, who seeks a seat in Congress, wants to legalize all drugs with the sole purpose of fighting against drug trafficking. The candidate sees that the country is centered on a public health problem that requires innovative measures in order to end with the underground market of illicit substances.

Read also: Health benefits of medical marijuana opens legalization debate

Matt Murphy, director of Pharma Compliance Group, advises drug companies, distributors, and pharmacies to comply politically and legally with the management of controlled substances, such as marijuana. The expert assures that the best way to have good results with medical marijuana laws is based on the education given to society, doctors, patients, and mainly the industry that will be responsible for the production and the distribution.

"Drugs with opioids become expensive and difficult to acquire for people of low or medium socioeconomic status, hence the high mortality rates for diseases with a high rate of pain. Marijuana is becoming that substitute that can reduce the number of deaths and increase the quality of life of patients suffering from these diseases. When there is a control from the pharmaceutical area, through social education and the control that the State and doctors take towards consumers, the risks are practically zero, and the concern for addiction ceases automatically”, stated Murphy who has advised various European countries.

 

Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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