LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s conservative Congress passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana late on Thursday with a 68-5 vote in favor of allowing cannabis oil to be produced, imported and commercialized.
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had proposed the measure after police cracked down on a group of mothers making cannabis oil in a makeshift laboratory to treat their epileptic children.
Regulations for producing and commercializing cannabis oil will be written in 60 days, ruling party lawmaker Alberto Belaunde said.
“Thousands of patients and their family members will have hope and a better quality of life,” said Belaunde.
Peru’s neighbors Chile and Colombia have already legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Uruguay has fully legalized growing and selling marijuana for any use.
A Republican lawmaker plans to introduce a bill during the upcoming legislative session that would legalize medical marijuana. “I can’t comprehend how we can deny people something that provides them with relief that’s not addictive and is not killing anyone when we know for a fact that prescription opioids are killing people,” he said. Lucas has been soliciting feedback on the topic on Facebook and said he has discussed the topic with doctors, veterans organizations and advocacy groups such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
“I still have a lot to learn on this,” he said. “Right now, I’m drinking from a fire hose, reaching out to credible groups and individuals.” Lucas would be the first Republican lawmaker to formally propose such legislation in at least five years. Democrats routinely file such bills, but they have consistently failed to receive even a hearing in the GOP-dominated General Assembly.Lucas, a self-described libertarian who is best known for his efforts to roll back gun restrictions, said he recognizes medical marijuana is a long shot in Indiana. Opposition remains strong among his fellow Republicans. Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, for example, have traditionally opposed any efforts to legalize marijuana, even for medical purposes.
In the face of such opposition, Lucas said he plans to pitch medical marijuana as a safer pain management tool that could help combat the scourge of overdose deaths from addictive prescription pain killers that have rocked the state in recent years.
“The gateway drug thing, we have to get past that,” Lucas said. “I would point out we have a gateway drug that is punching us in the face right now and it is prescription opioids.”
Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, who has pushed for years to decriminalize marijuana, welcomed Lucas’s interest in the topic.
“Sometimes it just has to be somebody else’s idea,” she said. “I’ve always said the left meets the right if you keep going far enough.”
Huntington Beach zoning amendment that would prohibit the sale and distribution of non-medical marijuana by businesses will be considered by the City Council on Monday. The amendment also would regulate the cultivation of recreational marijuana. The Planning Commission voted 6-1 in late July to recommend approval, with Commissioner Dan Kalmick dissenting on grounds that he believes the city is devoting a large amount of resources to regulating a “boogeyman.” According to the Huntington Beach Police Department, non-medical marijuana businesses and deliveries could have negative effects such as an increase in robberies, thefts and burglaries, a city staff report states. The department says cities that have non-medical marijuana businesses have seen increases in arrests related to driving under the influence, according to the report. Proposition 64, which voters statewide passed in November, allows people 21 and older to use and cultivate non-medical marijuana, with stipulations granting local governments the ability to ban recreational marijuana businesses and regulate cultivation. Under the Huntington Beach amendment, outdoor cultivation of recreational marijuana would be illegal. Indoor cultivation would be restricted to private residences in an enclosed area, according to city documents.
SALT LAKE CITY — Signature gathering is under way to put medical marijuana on the 2018 ballot in Utah. As people waited in line for lunch at the popular “Food Truck Thursday” event at the Gallivan Center, volunteers with the Utah Patients Coalition hit them up to sign in support of putting the issue before voters in the 2018 election.
Some of those soliciting signatures are those who would benefit if medical cannabis were legalized in Utah. “I did the illegal thing. I went to Colorado and got what I needed,” said Scott Kingsbury, who has arthritis. “I’m off of five of six prescription medicines and, personally, I think it’s a matter of freedom. It’s a matter of choosing what I want to put in my body.” DJ Schanz, the director of the Utah Patients Coalition, said they have not lacked for volunteers with this issue. Medical marijuana supporters have been increasingly vocal on Utah’s Capitol Hill and launched the ballot initiative frustrated by inaction from the legislature.
However, as the signature gathering effort spreads out across Utah, Schanz said they would hire people to go door-to-door. They must gather 113,000 signatures in 26 of Utah’s 29 senate districts. That’s roughly 10 percent of every county’s population. “We’re trying to get this done before January 10 or so, before the legislative session meets,” Schanz said. “We will be having numerous public events to get this done.” At last week’s Willie Nelson concert, the Utah Patients Coalition landed more than 1,000 signatures with little effort. They plan to be at other concerts and farmer’s markets to get people to sign. The Utah Patients Coalition said it planned to publicize signature-gathering events on its website.
“We’re excited to take this to all of Utah — rural, Salt Lake City, wherever — we’ve seen strong support,” Schanz said. State lawmakers have said they are planning more legislation ahead of the 2018 elections to deal with medical marijuana. However, it may not appease medical cannabis backers who don’t believe it will be as robust as a voter-approved initiative.