Chile Lawmakers Seek To Legalize Medical Marajuana

Chile Lawmakers Seek To Legalize Medical Marajuana
Posted by CN Staff on March 28, 2005 at 16:25:59 PT
By Katie Burford
Source: Reuters
Santiago, Chile -- Two Chilean lawmakers plan to introduce a bill to legalize medical marijuana after recent high profile arrests of a wealthy grandmother and a retired economist for growing the drug sparked national debate."We know this is an unfinished debate in Chile. But we see the point of view of people that need this substance, and we are looking for a solution for these people," Deputy Laura Soto, of the Party for Democracy which is part of the ruling center-left Concertacion coalition, said on Monday.
Soto and party colleague Deputy Antonio Leal said they would introduce their bill in the coming days.Socially conservative Chileans have traditionally rejected drug use, but marijuana has now become more accepted. Government surveys show that over the past 10 years marijuana use has grown slightly, with more than 5 percent of Chileans now saying they have used marijuana in the last year.The proposal would make marijuana available in drug form through pharmacies with a prescription, and eliminate penalties for people who grow marijuana for personal medicinal use.Last week 64-year-old retired economist Juan Quintana was arrested at his home outside Santiago after police searched it and found 30 lbs (13.7 kg) of marijuana, 55 marijuana plants and cookies believed to contain the drug.Quintana said he consumed marijuana in cookie form for a lung condition.A few weeks earlier Maria Luisa Velasco, 71, was arrested at her home in an exclusive neighborhood after police discovered 44 marijuana plants growing there. Velasco, the ex wife of a former senator, also said the plants were for medicinal purposes. She was released on bail. Source: Reuters (Wire)Author: Katie BurfordPublished: March 28, 2005Copyright: 2005 Reuters CannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 29, 2005 at 17:23:44 PT
IPS: Related Article from Chile
DRUGS-CHILE:Medicinal Marijuana Debate Rages On Gustavo González SANTIAGO, Mar 29 (IPS) - A court decision to drop all criminal charges against a man living with HIV/AIDS who was growing cannabis at home for therapeutic reasons has reopened the debate over medicinal marijuana in Chile. Rafael Antonio D. J., 41, spent 53 days in prison in 2001 after being falsely accused of selling marijuana to schoolchildren. In fact, the marijuana in his possession was exclusively for his own personal use, as a means of counteracting the unpleasant side effects caused by the HIV/AIDS medications he was taking. The Santiago Court of Appeals finally acquitted Rafael Antonio after a long legal battle, in which he and his attending physician, Juan Ballesteros, were able to demonstrate that they had attempted to import Marinol (dronabinol) -- a synthetic version of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana -- but that its entry was blocked by the country's customs authorities. In a related case, María Luisa Velasco, 71, the ex-wife of former Christian Democrat senator and government minister Juan Hamilton, was arrested in February for growing 40 marijuana plants in the backyard of her home in Las Condes, one of Santiago's most elite neighbourhoods. Velasco, who was dubbed ”granny” by the local press, said she had been smoking marijuana for 30 years to alleviate the pain caused by arthritis and rheumatism. She has been released on bail while awaiting trial -- one in which the precedent set by Rafael Antonio's acquittal will undoubtedly have an influence. In an interview with IPS, Dr. Pedro Naveillán, president of the Chilean Mental Health Institute, said that ”the Court of Appeals decision in the case of the AIDS patient should be the rule. If a doctor prescribes cannabinoids (chemicals found in Cannabis sativa or marijuana) as treatment for pain or other symptoms, then a patient should have the right to consume them.” Naveillán, one of Chile's most outspoken supporters of the legalisation of marijuana consumption, added that the authorities should also authorise the import of medications that contain or synthesise the active ingredients found in Cannabis sativa, although this would make treatment more costly. ”What is needed is authorisation for growing marijuana for personal use as a form of medical treatment. Smoking marijuana has the same effects as these medications,” he added. But Naveillán's views conflict sharply with those of psychiatrist Mariano Montenegro, head of the treatment division at the National Council for Drug Control (CONACE), a government agency, and Iván Saavedra, president of the Chilean College of Pharmaceutical Chemists. According to Montenegro, ”The use of marijuana cigarettes as a replacement for medication is not authorised anywhere in the world. In Canada, Holland, and some states in the United States, marijuana is prescribed in the form of medications or infusions, once other treatments have not had the desired effect,” he told IPS. ”Marijuana has over 400 psychoactive ingredients, and only one of them, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), is synthesised for the production of medications used to treat chronic pain caused by some diseases, to increase the appetite of cancer and AIDS patients, and to alleviate the nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy,” said Montenegro. If patients smoke marijuana, he continued, they consume all of its ingredients, many of which affect the central nervous system and alter mental functions. ”A very precise dose of THC is needed for medical applications,” he stressed. Montenegro's views, however, do not appear to be shared by the authorities in Canada, the Netherlands or the ten U.S. states he mentions -- all of which actually authorise the smoking of cannabis for treatment purposes, with a doctor's prescription. The government of Canada even produces marijuana for medical use. Meanwhile, according to Saavedra, ”The excessive and prolonged consumption of marijuana leads to a loss of concentration, reduced memory capacity, motor coordination problems, erectile dysfunction in men, anxiety and paranoia. It also affects blood flow to the brain, which explains the cognitive deficiencies observed in marijuana users.” In a commentary published by the local newspaper El Mercurio, the pharmaceutical chemist acknowledged the positive effects of marijuana in the treatment of migraine headaches, insomnia, chronic pain, muscle spasms and spasticity (caused by multiple sclerosis, for example), intestinal inflammation and the nausea associated with chemotherapy. He added, however, that it has not been recognised as an ”indispensable” medication in modern medicine. ”I believe it would be incorrect for Chile to approve the use of cannabinoids and their sale in pharmacies,” Saavadra concluded. Rodrigo Pascal, coordinator of Vivopositivo, a support and advocacy organisation for people living with HIV/AIDS, also weighed in on the debate. ”It has been proven that marijuana not only alleviates the pain and side effects of other medications, but is also extremely helpful for people in the advanced stages of AIDS, because it boosts the appetite,” he said. Alvaro Bardón, a neoliberal economist and director of the Public Policy Institute of Finis Terrae University, a private institution, told IPS that the ruling in Rafael Antonio's case was ”the most reasonable decision.” Naveillán cited studies from Oxford University indicating that marijuana is not addictive, and that in addition to the medical applications already mentioned, it has also proved effective in the treatment of glaucoma. He added that Cannabis sativa in itself does not cause mental illness, although it can exacerbate the symptoms of previously existing disorders of this kind. He also emphatically refuted the ”escalation theory” which holds that smoking marijuana can lead to the use of stronger illegal drugs, like cocaine or heroin. In actual fact, he maintained, it is the repressive policies followed under the prohibitionist approach to drugs that foster the development of criminal trafficking rings, which encourage users -- especially the young -- to experiment with different narcotics. CONACE's Montenegro, on the other hand, insists that ”marijuana is not a harmless drug.” Of the 12,000 Chileans who entered public health system drug rehabilitation programmes in 2003, 5,700 were ”problem users” of Cannabis sativa, he reported. Bardón, however, believes that the consumption of marijuana and other drugs should be ”legalised and open, because this is the only way of effectively dealing with drug addiction and preventing the emergence of criminal trafficking rings fostered by prohibitionist policies. I don't know of a single country that has achieved results with the prohibitionist approach,” he said. ”The police and the entire state apparatus, instead of devoting themselves to fighting crime, waste their time on anti-drug operations,” the economist said. The prohibitionist stance, he added, merely results in the spread of corruption, an increase in crime, and deaths caused by poor quality drugs, as well as more people in prison, largely ”mothers from marginalised neighbourhoods and young people.” Copyright: 2005 IPS-Inter Press Service
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on March 29, 2005 at 09:24:43 PT
dongenero and Everyone
On MSNBC on the show called Connected with Ron Reagan they are having a really good show on brain injury. They aren't screaming at each other but just talking. I am started to really appreciate this new show on MSNBC because the co-host is not as pushy as she was when the show started.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 29, 2005 at 08:57:57 PT
I really appreciate Jon Stewart. I saw the show when they had the psychic on Fox but must have missed The Daily Show. I changed the channel when the psychic was on Fox. It just discusts me too much.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 29, 2005 at 08:47:30 PT
I appreciate your comments. I have watched Fox because of the spin on Mrs. Schiavo's case but I haven't watched O
Reilly. The religious right is scary to me. I am a person of faith but my ideas of what is right or what is wrong is between me and my God not laws and agendas.
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Comment #6 posted by dongenero on March 29, 2005 at 08:33:03 PT
should have written Fox "News".
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on March 29, 2005 at 08:31:28 PT
speaking of Fox's integrity
Did you see the Jon Stewart show where he had a clip of "Fox and Friends", where they were interviewing the TV psychic guy about Terri Sciavo's condition, what she is thinking etc.
This was done in all seriousness.It was ridiculous, hilarious and disgusting all at once.
That sums up Fox News I would say. 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 29, 2005 at 08:24:03 PT
I don't watch O'Reilly. I have the movie Outfoxed and I hope most people have watched it and then they will understand the agenda of Fox News. Fox News has exploited Terri Schiavo's case to an extreme that is absolutely cruel. If violence occurs against Michael Schiavo or his family I would have to put a portion of the blame on Fox.
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on March 29, 2005 at 08:16:27 PT
O'Reilly is an idiot anyway
Hard to believe his show is still alive.So, the doc discussed the patient's medical problems and made the recommendation. It's not actually a prescription is it? What did the patient say? I have cancer?, AIDS?, MS, Glaucoma, wasting syndrome? chronic pain from injury? Maybe he said insomnia or an eating disorder or neuropathic pain. Some of the problems cannabis helps with are conditions that are verified by patient comments and complaints.
In the end, cannabis is far more benign than any controlled substance a doctor can recommend. More benign than many non-controlled substances. The risk is minimal to the patient in need. People are arrested for doctor shopping aren't they? Look at Rush Limbaugh or Noelle Bush. It's against the law to deceive the doctors that way for drugs.Lastly, I would say the examination described is a much better examination than the video exams numerous "expert" doctors are giving Terri Schiavo. Where are the cries of malpractice on that one?
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 28, 2005 at 18:14:38 PT
Taylor Thanks!
I read in an email that medical marijuana might be on O'Reilly tonight. I checked his web site and didn't see anything so since I don't watch O'Reilly I missed it. 
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Comment #1 posted by Taylor121 on March 28, 2005 at 18:09:30 PT
O'Reilly on Medical Pot Scam
In the "Back of the Book" segment this evening, he discussed an LA pot club where the Fox News Producer bought marijuana legally. So here is how it went down.Fox News producer first tried to buy marijuana without a recommendation. The three cannabis clubs all turned him down. However, one of the clubs offered him a business card for a doctor. Fox News producer went to the doctor on the card, waited 90 minutes, got in to see the doctor, and said the doctor didn't even examine him, rather he simply wrote him a prescription after discussing his medical problems for 5 minutes. O'Reilly is then going nuts on the program saying it's a scam and interviews a doctor that regularly prescribes cannabis to patients. He said this is a minority case and most of the outspoken doctors for cannabis recommendations have extremely high standards for recommending it. O'Reilly is calling marijuana legalized in California and he is outraged by it it seems.It would be nice if he covered the cases where cannabis is actually used properly for medicinal purposes instead of going way out of his way to try to find a real life case to his accusations. Of course there are going to be some scams in the medical system, but they aren't for cannabis alone. You can find these same scams with other prescribed drugs as well.In either case, O'Reilly is important not because he is right, but because so many people watch his show. Sometimes he has good exposure to cannabis related issues, but this has to be viewed negatively to the people we are trying to convince.
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