Peru joins the ranks of other Latin American countries moving toward legalizing medical marijuana.
Peru’s Congress has approved a bill to legalize the use of cannabis in disease treatment.
Lawmakers approved the legislation with 67 votes in favor, five against and three abstentions. The proposed law allows residents to use marijuana and its derivatives, such as cannabis oil, to treat diseases like Parkinson’s, cancer and epilepsy.
The law still needs to be approved by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Specialists say the proposal will focus not on consumption of marijuana, but in extracting its medicinal components to treat several diseases.
“There is experience of use in many countries of the region,” lawmaker Alberto de Belaunde said. “It is not a question of unknown terrain.”
Uruguay is a pioneer country on this issue in Latin America. In 2013, it became the first nation in the region to approve a law that allows the cultivation of marijuana for self-consumption and cultivation centers for cooperatives.
Since then, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico have passed laws authorizing the cultivation and use of marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes.
“Science is on our side, the regional current is on our side,” de Belaunde said.
“This is an academic joy, we have had a lot of information that was not precise about cannabis,” Pedro Wong of the Peruvian Pharmaceutical Chemical College said.