Last week, Paraguay’s president, Mario Abdo Benítez, vetoed a bill which aimed to decriminalize the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. This decision was not received well by cannabis patients and organizations like Mama Cultiva, which has been pushing this project forward and pointing out the many medical and economic benefits that cannabis regulations would bring to the country.
Paraguay’s ‘Mama Cultiva’ regrets the veto of the new cannabis bill
The organization ‘Mamá Cultiva’ have expressed regret over the Executive’s veto of the bill to decriminalize the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. They assured that those who “really need it” are being ignored. They have also pronounced that the production of medicine is a legitimate business since the oil sold in pharmacies is priceless for many citizens.
Cynthia Fariña, from ‘Mamá Cultiva’, commented that they are again looking for the necessary votes for the approval of the legislative initiative that decriminalizes the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. She pointed out that they already have the necessary support to have an absolute majority, but in Deputies, they are still looking for votes.
Furthermore, she regretted that President Mario Abdo Benítez vetoed the project last week and emphasized that medical cannabis is currently a business that only favors pharmacists. “We are very sorry that one group continues to be favored while the rest of those we really need it are ignored,” she said.
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Only a limited group of individuals benefit from the current cannabis regulations
Fariña asserts that the Executive Branch ignores the representatives of ‘Mamá Cultiva’ and has never welcomed them.
“We have asked for hearings and debates, but they do not accept. They do not have the character or the courage to confront us. They tell us lies to our faces, that they are working by all other means, which we know perfectly well that is not the case”, she added.
In this sense, Fariña recalls the opinion of an adviser to the Presidency who recommended the rejection of the bill, for allegedly contradicting several international treaties. On this point, she points out that the country is also a signatory to human rights conventions, and that the National Constitution itself defends the right to a dignified life.
“We have always held that only a certain group is favored over the rest. (…) We are not here to profit, but do it because there are catastrophic needs we have in our families. That is all we are looking for: relief and a better quality of life for our loved ones,” she concluded.
A much-anticipated law, vetoed by the government
Last Friday, the Executive Branch vetoed the bill N° 6602/2020 which established that the possession or production of such drugs exclusively for medical use is not punishable by law.
They pointed out that the rejection of the law was due to a recommendation made by the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (Senad) and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare. “The production of cannabis for therapeutic purposes requires a control of the origin of the seed, and a laboratorial process through which the percentages contained in each component are administered,” explained the Ministry of Health in a statement.
In addition, as they argued, the provisions of Law No. 6602/2020 is “antagonistic” to the provisions of the United Nations’ Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, which establishes control parameters for the process of industrialization and use of cannabis.
With the veto, the project returns to the Congress, where the legislators will have to analyze if they accept it or ratify it in the sanction.
(Featured image by Shelby Ireland via Unsplash)
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