Another country takes a massive step forward in the global cannabis revolution as Peru has joined dozens of other nations when they legalized medical marijuana. The country’s conservative Congress passed the bill legalizing medical marijuana last Thursday. The vote won in a landslide with a 68-5 vote in favor of allowing oil from the plant to be produced, imported and commercialized.
An interesting fact is that the majority of the momentum that swung the country towards legalization came from Peruvian mothers that wanted access to safer medicine.
They didn’t just provide the momentum, they literally pioneered the movement. Ana Alvarez, one of Peru’s cannabis pioneer’s and a mother of four, turned part of her home in Lima into a Cannabis Laboratory. Originally, she took on this venture to help her own children’s conditions, but soon started informally allowing visits from other patients and prescribed them marijuana and its derivatives to help with their own conditions.
Ana began her cannabis journey when her son Anthony was suffering from multiple daily seizures. Cannabis was the only thing that helped to stop the seizures.
“After three days of taking marijuana oil, Anthony started to reconnect with life, he began to socialize, he began to sleep, he began to eat and little by little he started to recover, “she said. “The change after three days was something extraordinary and from that moment my fight began.”
Ana wasn’t the only cannabis healer fighting for medical legalization.
Dorothy Santiago, a 29-year-old naval officer, was right by her side on the battlefield. Santiago’s own five-year-old son, Rodrigo, was suffering from the same conditions as Anthony.
Ana and Dorothy met and exchanged heart-felt stories of their successes and healing. That’s when they decided to form Buscando Esperanza (Searching for Hope). Buscando Esperanza became a driving force for change, campaigning relentlessly for medical marijuana in Peru.
The group now has over 200 members.
Buscando Esperanza and others groups protested in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. They picketed outside the Interior Ministry in Lima, Peru earlier this year. One sign had “Give me back my medicine, do not let me die,” written on it.
Buscando Esperanza didn’t receive the reaction they were hoping for from the government, though. After the protest, police raided Buscando Esperanza’s lab. A greater public backlash ensued, however, and soon thereafter President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski proposed a new measure to legalize medical marijuana.
The bill was passed with a 68-5 vote. The mostly conservative congress, while voting in majority favor of passing, did not allow for flower to be distrubted as medicine. Instead only cannabis oil to be grown and distributed for medical purposes.
Ruling party lawmaker Alberto Belaunde said that the regulations would be written within 60 days. The new rules will establish how cannabis oil should be produced and commercialized.
“Thousands of patients and their family members will have hope and a better quality of life,” said Belaunde.
The past two years have seen an explosion of cannabis reform across south America, as Peru’s neighboring countries like Chile, Colombia, and Brazil have all passed similar legislation legalizing medical cannabis.
Uruguay, on the other hand, has fully legalized the harvesting and distribution of recreational cannabis.
South America is rapidly becoming a pro-marijuana continent, and will definitely be worth keeping an eye on as Canada and other countries look to increase their international market share.