Lima, Peru: The Congress of Peru, on Thursday, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill to legalize medical marijuana. The bill which has the full backing of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynskia authorizes the medicinal and therapeutic use of cannabis and its derivatives, such as cannabis oil, in the country.
It was approved, according to the Senate, to “guarantee the fundamental right to health”. The law authorizes “informed use, research, importation and marketing of cannabis,” the Senate says on its website.
The proposal received 67 votes in favor, 5 against and 3 lawmakers abstained. The margin in favour allows the bill to be enacted by the executive without going through the second voting session as required by law.
The bill legalizes the medicinal use of marijuana and its derivatives, such as cannabis oil, to alleviate the symptoms of diseases such as cancer, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
Congressman Alberto de Belaunde, president of the Commission of Justice and DD.HH, who was the advocate of the proposal, said that, once the bill is promulgated, the government will have 60 days to work on the regulations.
Alberto de Belaunde added that this document must be published in advance so that all citizens will have access to its content and send suggestions and proposals.
“We achieved it. Historic moment for Congress and the country: Legal medicinal cannabis,” De Belaunde wrote on his Twitter account.
The proposal was endorsed on Thursday by Congressman Ricardo Narvaez, president of the Congressional Health Commission, which had already approved the project earlier in October.
“For us it is a great satisfaction, it is a law that is going to revolutionize, in a country with many prejudices, concerns and fears, I believe it is a good message,” Narvaez told Canal TV.
He added that the import, production and research in Peru was authorized on the medicinal use of marijuana but for the production, an issue he considered to be “the most controversial,” the government will have to establish the regulations.
Congressman and Defense Minister Javier Velasquez, who also approved the project in September, said that in the first stage, the cultivation and production of marijuana should be authorized by state institutions such as the National Institute of Health.
The legislative approval came following the government’s proposal to decriminalize the medical use of marijuana, after a controversy broke out in February when the National Police raided a clandestine laboratory where marijuana oil was manufactured for sick children.
Peru joins the list of countries in South America, such as Colombia, Mexico and Argentina, that have already approved marijuana for medical purposes.