July 19, 2017

Chile Legalized Medical Marijuana but Home Cultivators Still Risk Being Criminalized

July 19, 2017
Chile Legalized Medical Marijuana

In 2015, Chile legalized medical marijuana and now residents of the country are increasingly growing cannabis for medical purposes as the nation begins to loosen prohibition during the implementation process.  Advocates of the cannabis plant are working hard to ensure Chileans with chronic pain have the skills and understanding about how to grow marijuana, even though doing so is still a legal gray area.

Movimental, or “The Movement”, is a non profit organization who is an autonomous, democratic, participative and self-funded organization that includes both users and non-users of cannabis, and their principal objective is to end the prohibitionist policies that have not provided any positive results in recent history.  According to the organization, the past and current policies have generated more problems than solutions, incarcerating thousands and thousands of recreational and medicinal users of cannabis, and exposing them to more dangerous situations than the cannabis itself, and thus creating a culture of narco trafficking.

Movimental explained, “In Chile, the consumption of any psychoactive substance is decriminalized. The problem with current legislation is how to acquire the substance. The cultivation of cannabis is allowed, but only with a permit from the SAG (agricultural and livestock service). In the case of medicinal use of cannabis, the law specifies that it would be sufficient to have a medical document for cultivation to be legal.  The paradox is that even with the license or prescription, many users continue to go through the process of criminalization, possibly affecting their homes, their cultivation and even their freedom. There is currently no government program that includes access to medical cannabis.”   

According to a recent Reuters article:

Earlier in May, pharmacies in the capital city of Santiago began selling cannabis-based medicines, the first time such treatments have been offered by drugstores in Latin America.  In Santiago, Chile’s pro-cannabis Daya Foundation hosted a workshop teaching those with medical conditions how to grow the plant on their own.  Last year, the foundation inaugurated the largest medical marijuana farm in Latin America under the supervision of Chile’s Agriculture and Livestock Service.  Chile’s Congress is currently debating a bill that would explicitly allow people to grow their own plants, and Argentina and Colombia are following similar paths.

Uruguay became a global leader (we hope) when the country legalized the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of marijuana in 2013, and will begin selling marijuana in pharmacies this summer…potentially starting next week!  This is the final stage in the country’s pioneering regulation and normalization of marijuana. The South American country will be the first in the world to legally sell cannabis over the counter for recreational use.  TWB is hopeful that Chile and other neighboring countries will follow this pattern!

There are different organizations/foundations that currently advocate for medicinal use in Chile if you want more information. Currently, the Daya foundation is in the stage of clinical studies to accredit the medical use of a phytopharmaceutical manufactured in Chile.  Daya also teaches cultivation and extraction techniques for medicinal preparations (as mentioned above) and provides support and legal assistance in the event that it is needed. Seemingly, the most influential groups in regards to cannabis advocacy in Chile are: Fundacion Daya, Mama Cultiva, Cultiva Medicina. All can be located and contacted on Facebook and social networks.  A good way to help is sharing their work, making donations and/or collaborations. 

Also, the Cannabis Cultural Association and I Deserve Canna is holding a free, first of its kind, Spanish language Medical Marijuana Educational event on the East Coast of the U.S. this coming weekend.  Check it out!


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