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Chilean Marijuana Users Get a Little Help from Congress

By: PanAm Post Staff - Jul 9, 2015, 2:53 pm

EspañolChilean lawmakers on Tuesday approved by a wide margin a bill that would allow citizens to grow and consume small amounts of marijuana for medical, recreational, or spiritual purposes. The bill now must be studied by a health committee and make its way through the Senate before being passed into law.

Diputados chilenos aprobaron un proyecto de ley que despenalizaría la tenencia de marihuana y autoriza el autocultivo. (@GrowLandia)
A bill to decriminalize marijuana in Chile made its first steps in Congress. (@GrowLandia)

If enacted, Chileans over the age of 18 will be authorized to grow up to six marijuana plants, or store up to 500 grams, in their homes. The bill would also allow the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis, although medical marijuana patients will still need to file a prescription for their medicine.

“I hope we can reinforce the education process to avoid stigmatizing [marijuana] consumption,” Congressman Giorgio Jackson said. The independent lawmaker called on the Chilean government to “get involved and stop running away from a debate that is necessary to eradicate drug trafficking” in the country.

“This bill advances civil liberties and the end of drug trafficking,” he said.

President Michelle Bachelet has remained silent on the bill, despite her administration authorizing last October a pilot program to allow an NGO to grow marijuana for medical purposes.

“Some are missing the administration’s presence in this debate,” said Congressman Matías Walker, coauthor of the bill. “I, on the other hand, welcome the fact that they are not in this room. After all, it was Congress who initiated this debate.”

Socialist Party Representative Denise Pascal says she supports the bill and says police need to stop jailing “citizens who are just having fun.”

“We need to legalize personal marijuana cultivation, so we can stop calling criminals those people who are not,” she said. “By doing this we are also eliminating narco-trafficking.”

Chile joins a growing number of countries across the Americas that are in the process of legalizing cannabis, such as Colombia, Jamaica, and Uruguay, as well as several US states.

Sources: El MostradorLa Voz.