For decades Peru fought a fierce war on all illegal drugs no matter how beneficial some substances might be in certain cases. But an incident at the beginning of this year lead to a rethinking of this position in some Peruvian politicians at least regarding the usage of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
As we reported in our article “Medical marijuana legal in Peru soon?”, in January of 2017 Peruvian police raided an apartment in the district of San Miguel in Lima and found inside an average home a lab where parents of children suffering from cancer, epilepsy and various other diseases extracted the oil from cannabis plants to treat and relieve the pain of their sick kids.
Due to missing regulations for the legal usage of medical marijuana and the unwillingness to even consider the beneficial properties of cannabis for certain diseases, these otherwise law-abiding parents broke the law to help their children.
This got the attention of Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski who has recognized the necessity of medical marijuana and convinced his government to act immediately. Just weeks later a bill was introduced to the Peruvian Congress that would legalize the import, sale and consumption of medicinal marijuana and cannabis derivatives for the treatment of serious and terminal illnesses. Trafficking and the recreational use of cannabis, however, would remain a crime.
For months nothing was heard about the legislative proposal. After consulting with Cedro (the Information and Education Center for the Prevention of Drug Abuse), the Pan American Health Organization, the Medicinal Marijuana Association in Trujillo, the National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs (DEVIDA), the Buscando Esperanza (Looking for Hope) initiative, who got the ball rolling, and many others, the National Defense Commission of the Peruvian Congress yesterday afternoon finally approved the draft giving their consent to the medicinal use of cannabis oil in the treatment of some diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson, among others.
The draft law as well allows the local cultivation and production, the import and sale of cannabis oil exclusively for medicinal purposes. To prevent malpractice doctors have to authorize the treatment and patients must be registered in a user database.
But wait, still no time to celebrate as this was only the first step. Next there will be a plenary debate on the bill in the Peruvian Congress which in the end will result in a vote for or against the proposed new law on the usage of medical marijuana in Peru.