Protesters in Peru took to the streets of Lima for the Global Marijuana March and demanded that the government draft the regulations for the production and sale of medical cannabis.
The Global Marijuana March is an annual rally held every first Saturday of May in various parts of the world. Also called the Million Marijuana March, the GMM just celebrated its 19th year. It is associated several cannabis-themed events, including rallies, marches, meetings, raves, festivals, and concerts.
In Peru, pro-cannabis groups marched on May 5 and called for the Health Ministry to deliver on its long-overdue promise to present guidelines for the production, importation, and commercialization of cannabis oil.
It can be recalled that in October 2017, the country’s conservative Congress passed a bill legalizing the use of medical cannabis. Lawmakers voted to legalize the use of cannabis or its derivatives in the treatment of certain medical conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. (You can read our report about this here.)
The measure also permits the domestic cultivation and the storage of medical cannabis products with strict monitoring and oversight by a regulatory committee that is composed of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs, along with a panel made up of appointed cannabis experts.
The government had been expected to present the regulations 60 days after the bill was passed, but until now, local media reported that these guidelines have yet to be drawn up. Without these regulations, the new law cannot be implemented.
Ana Alvarez, who has fought for the legalization of medical cannabis in Peru, said that patients are waiting patiently because they want fair regulations – regulations that adjust to patients’ needs and not to the needs of large companies. According to her, they want medical cannabis to reach every patient who needs it, regardless of whether or not they have the money.
Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski proposed to relax the country’s cannabis policies after police authorities cracked down on Buscando Esperanza, a small association of mothers who manufactured their own cannabis oils to treat their sick children. Buscando Esperanza is headed by Alvarez.
What happened to the mothers and to their sick children’s medicine not only gained media attention but also sparked public outrage. Protesters started demanding the legalization of medical cannabis.
How about Peru’s neighbors?
Peru’s neighbors, Colombia and Chile, have also already legalized medical cannabis. Uruguay, meanwhile, has fully legalized the sale and cultivation of cannabis for both medical and recreational uses.
In Chile, particularly, at least 80,000 marched along the main avenue in the capital city of Santiago in a joyful protest to show support for the legalization and the regulation of both medical and recreational marijuana. This is the 13th annual march of its kind in the country and it showcased artists, musicians, costumes, and giant joints.
Protesters are also calling for private cultivation of cannabis to be allowed and regulated, and for people to be allowed to smoke cannabis freely. Some even held signs saying things like “To grow is your right,” “Legal use, not criminal,” and “No more prisoners for cultivating.”
Similar marches were also held in other Chilean cities like Concepcion and Valparaiso.
The marches in Chile were organized by Mama Cultiva, the Fundacion Daya, Cultiva Medicina, and Amigos del Cannabis. These are organizations that have campaigned to legalize cannabis in Chile for years.
The production and sale of medicine derived from cannabis have been legalized in Chile in late 2015. However, the law heavily restricts this and sets prices that make the product unaffordable for most people who really need it.