Chile: Lawmakers Seek To Legalize Medical Marajuana

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Mar 27, 2005
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Chile Lawmakers Seek To Legalize Medical Marajuana

Santiago, Chile -- Two Chilean lawmakers plan to introduce a bill to legalize medical marijuana after recent high profile arrests of a wealthy grandmother and a retired economist for growing the drug sparked national debate.
"We know this is an unfinished debate in Chile. But we see the point of view of people that need this substance, and we are looking for a solution for these people," Deputy Laura Soto, of the Party for Democracy which is part of the ruling center-left Concertacion coalition, said on Monday.

Soto and party colleague Deputy Antonio Leal said they would introduce their bill in the coming days.

Socially conservative Chileans have traditionally rejected drug use, but marijuana has now become more accepted. Government surveys show that over the past 10 years marijuana use has grown slightly, with more than 5 percent of Chileans now saying they have used marijuana in the last year.

The proposal would make marijuana available in drug form through pharmacies with a prescription, and eliminate penalties for people who grow marijuana for personal medicinal use.

Last week 64-year-old retired economist Juan Quintana was arrested at his home outside Santiago after police searched it and found 30 lbs (13.7 kg) of marijuana, 55 marijuana plants and cookies believed to contain the drug.

Quintana said he consumed marijuana in cookie form for a lung condition.

A few weeks earlier Maria Luisa Velasco, 71, was arrested at her home in an exclusive neighborhood after police discovered 44 marijuana plants growing there. Velasco, the ex wife of a former senator, also said the plants were for medicinal purposes. She was released on bail.

Source: Reuters (Wire)
Author: Katie Burford
Published: March 28, 2005
Copyright: 2005 Reuters

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