Peru has taken the first step towards legalizing cannabis by approving a bill that would allow the production and importation of medical marijuana.
According to international reports, a makeshift cannabis lab run by mothers hoping to medicate their sick children was raided by police last February. That resulted in a flurry of public outcry over the raid, and a push to legalize medical cannabis. Earlier this week the Congressional Committee on National Defense approved a measure to do just that, and the bill will now go before the full Peruvian Congress.
Legislators will now debate the issue, but the momentum from the police raid seems to be carrying the measure toward acceptance. President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was the one who initially proposed the legislation, after learning about the mothers trying to treat their children.
Congressman Alberto de Belaunde told Peruvian newspaper La Nacion that the initiative would benefit those patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions.
De Belaunde said cannabis oil would be legalized for the treatment of diseases, but there hadn’t been a formal text of the initiative released to the public yet, so we don’t know whether smoking cannabis will be allowed.
Ana Alvarez, founder of Seeking Hope, a Peruvian group that advocates for the legalization of medical marijuana, said in a statement: “We feel that all the mothers of the group are very happy because it is a reward for so much struggle that we have been going through day by day.”
According to a widely publicized IPSOS poll, 65% of Peruvians favor the legalization of medicinal marijuana, while only 13% support the legalization of adult-use cannabis.