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Global: Chilean Pharmacies Start Offering Cannabis, A First In Latin America

Chile Cannabis

Cannabis has a long history in Chile, possibly the longest in the New World, as hemp production for fiber was introduced in the Quillota Valley as early as 1545

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Increasingly, Chileans are cultivating their own cannabis for medicine as the South American nation starts to loosen its prohibition on the once illegal herb. Chile began clinical trials on medical marijuana in 2014, and in 2015 a decriminalization bill successfully passed the lower house of the Chilean Congress. Later that year, following a wave of other Latin American nations allowing the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of cannabis, Chile legalized the use of medical marijuana.

Chile: Pharmacies Set To Dispense Medical Marijuana This Week

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Pharmacies in Santiago, Chile will begin selling medical marijuana products this week, as the nation's legislature is considering allowing patients to grow small amounts at home, according to a report in Reuters. The products will be imported by Canadian licensed producer Tilray in partnership with Alef Biotechnology, which is licensed by the Chilean government.

The Tilray products, T100 and TC100, will cost about $310 per month for individuals with a prescription. Medical marijuana was made legal in Chile in 2015, but mmj therapies were only available through a limited number of dedicated farms set up by a charity.

“By importing Tilray’s medical cannabis products to Chile we intend to ease the suffering of those in need by offering pure, precise and predictable medical cannabis products,” Roberto Roizman, Alef board president, said in a statement.

Chile's first medical marijuana crop was harvested in April by Australia’s AusCann Holdings and Chile’s Fundacion Daya. Those establishments must complete successful clinical trials before being registered with the Chilean Institute of Public Health and made available for patients, however.

Chile: Mother Restricted Access To Baby For Smoking Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Chilean mother says a hospital is restricting her from seeing her newborn daughter because she admitted smoking marijuana a few days before she gave birth.

During labor, Sindy Melany Ortiz told hospital officials that she had used cannabis to relieve pain in one of her arms that had been broken, report Eva Vergara and Luis Andres Henao of the Associated Press.

Six hours after her daughter Luciana was born on November 19, a social worker and a psychologist told her that the hospital had "activated a security protocol" and that her baby was being transferred to the neonatology unit. She said that since then, she's only been allowed to see Luciana for 2.5 hours a day, and is not allowed to breast-feed her.

"The pain (in my arm) was too strong," Ortiz said. "We researched several methods to ease it and we took a decision as a family because we didn't think it would affect the baby. It wasn't recreational, it was strictly medicinal."

Hospital officials in the southern Chile city of Talcahuano claimed they were just following protocol when they told a local court they'd found traces of marijuana in the mother's system.

"We've taken actions for the greater good of the child," claimed Patricia Sanchez, acting director at the hospital. "There's nothing out of the norm, and as consequence the baby is hospitalized."

Chile On The Verge Of Decriminalizing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Chile is on the verge of joining a growing list of Latin American countries decriminalizing marijuana. Proposed changes to Ley 20.000 (Law 20,000) which would grant Chileans the right to possess up to 10 grams of cannabis and grow up to six plants passed Chile's Chamber of Deputies last month on a 68-39 vote.

The bill must be adjusted by a health commission and then passed by the Chilean Senate before it officially becomes law, but strong support for marijuana legalization in Chile indicates a new norm in the Western Hemisphere and that the War On Drugs has failed, according to Olivia Marple of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

In a 2012 poll of 18- to 34-year-olds by Asuntos del Sur (Southern Affairs), 79 percent of young Chileans "voice strong approval" for legalization, with 52 percent disapproving of government campaigns attempting to reduce drug use and 54 percent did not support the government's current drug policies.

Fifty percent of Chileans at large favor legalization while 45 percent are against, according to a 2014 poll by Cadem, a Chilean market and public opinion investigation company. The approval figure skyrockets to 86 percent in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana.

Chile Moves Toward Marijuana Decriminalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Chile has made a move towards decriminalizing marijuana after the lower house of congress approved -- by a wide 68-39 margin -- a bill that would change the cannabis laws in this South American country.

Observers believe Chile, while not quite ready to follow neighboring Uruguay's lead on full legalization, may be ready to decriminalize personal use and cultivation of cannabis, reports Reuters.

The lower house of congress on Tuesday, to loud cheers from the public galley, voted to push forward with marijuana law reform. The bill would allow possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis, and the growing of up to six plants.

Current marijuana penalties in Chile can get up you to 15 years in prison, reports the BBC.

A health committee will now study the bill before the lower house again votes on each of its specific elements. It will then go to the Senate.

The vote was important, according to lawmaker Karol Cariola, part of President Michelle Bachelet's lefist coalition. "It is a historic day for medicinal users who wish to stop being persecuted and be able to access a medicine that they can grow in their gardens," she said.

Chile: Hundreds of Thousands Attend Largest Pro-Marijuana Demonstration Ever

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By Mike Bifari
Hemp News

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Santiago, Chile on Sunday to ask for a new law that allows the self-cultivation of marijuana and a change in the drug law in Chile. Estimates of 400,000 marchers are agreed on, but the number of people in Sunday's March range from 250,000 to 500,000, making it the largest pro-cannabis demonstration in history.

The demonstrators marched through the main streets of the Chilean capital to apply for a new drug policy and regulation of cannabis in March '11 Grow Your Rights' organized by Movimental, a civic association working with new drug law policies.

Movimental said that in recent years "the demand for a new drug policy and a new regulation on Cannabis, has achieved a remarkable and majority social legitimacy", which is reflected in the massive participation in the call on Sunday.

Families with children and people of all ages gathered at noon in a peaceful demonstration to demand, he said one of the participants told The Associated Press, "for the freedom of every person, it is a plant, like all others, such as tomatoes, such as avocado. It is a plant, there is nothing illegal, plant something natural."

Many attendees wore references to the marijuana plant, both as crown
tattooed on the body or printed on colorful flag backgrounds. The
march was also attended by people with different types of diseases who
resort to marijuana for medicinal use.

"I have diabetes, hypertension, lupus and now I found something in the

Chile: Government Approves Planting 850 Marijuana Plants For Cancer Patients

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Chilean government has granted permission to a nonprofit organization to grow 850 marijuana plants in a residential area of the capital city of Santiago.

The cannabis, which is being planted in La Florida, a district of the capital city, will be harvested next April and turned into oil which will be used as a painkiller for 200 cancer patients, reports Gideon Long at BBC News.

It's the first project of its kind with state backing anywhere in Latin American according to BBC. Much of the cannabis debate in the region has centered in Uruguay, which this year legalized marijuana, becoming the first nation in the world to do so.

In Chile, the authorities permit the use of cannabis only for medicinal purposes. "We don't want to get into a debate about the personal use of marijuana," said Mayor Rodolfo Carter of La Florida.

"Let's stick to the medical issue," Carter said. "This is about providing people who are suffering from cancer with a natural, healthier and cheaper treatment for their pain."

The local nonprofit Daya Foundation will oversee the project, which will be accompanied by a clinical study into the effectiveness of cannabis oil as a painkiller.

"Eventually, we want to make cannabis medicine available for everybody, even if they can't afford it," said Nicolas Dormal, cofounder of the foundation. "But for now, we will concentrate on these first 200 patients."

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