Peru Joins the Ranks of Legalization

The Peruvian Congress recently approved a measure that allows residents diagnosed with specific conditions to produce and use cannabis for medical purposes.

Peru has become the latest country to change its policies and permit the use of medical cannabis. After an intense debate, the Peruvian Congress on October 19 overwhelmingly voted 68-5 in favor of Legislative Bill 1392, a bill that permits the production, sale, and importation of cannabis oil.

The Peruvian Congress’ Healthcare Commission approved the bill on October 11 before it was passed on to Congress for consideration. President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who is reportedly in favor of the bill, needs to also approve it before it becomes law.

Once implemented, the law will allow residents diagnosed with certain qualifying conditions – including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy – to use cannabis and its derivatives.

Regulations for producing and commercializing the medical cannabis oil will be written within the next 60 days, with oversight handled by a regulatory committee made up of members of the Ministries of Agriculture and Health, the National Commission for Development for Development and Life Without Drugs (DEVIDA), and a panel of cannabis experts.

The medical cannabis bill was originally introduced over the summer by lawmaker Alberto de Belaunde. While initially controversial among Peru’s conservative Congress due to the country’s thriving illegal coca leaves trade, advocates emphasized how the measure is aimed at providing relief to those facing specific ailments.

“Science is on our side, the regional current is on our side. Let’s not let our fears paralyze us,” said Belaunde prior to the vote.

President Kuczynski had earlier this year suggested the passing of a medical cannabis oil measure, motivated by what he considered a heartless police cracked down on a group of mothers who were illegally producing cannabis oil to give to their epileptic children last February. Residents of the western South America country who use the cannabis oil for treatment will now be able to make and use the substance without fear of persecution.

“Thousands of patients and their family members will have hope and a better quality of life,” said Belaunde.

One of the Peru mothers who had their home raided was Ana Alvarez, cannabis advocate and founder of Buscando Esperanza, an association made up of mothers who grow cannabis and produce cannabis oil for their children. Alvarez had been making the oil to give to her son, who is diagnosed with a rare and severe seizure disorder called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

“Mothers are happy because it is already a step forward in this long journey. We expect self-cultivation to be allowed,” said Alvarez, in response to the measure passing.

Peru shares border lines with South American countries that have already passed medical cannabis laws. Colombia, which borders Peru in the north, passed a decree legalizing and regulating medical marijuana in December 2015. Since January 2015, Peru’s eastern neighbor Brazil has legalized the cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) for therapeutic purposes.

Learn More About Medical Cannabis Laws

Legalized medical cannabis has expanded globally over the past five years. You can learn more about international cannabis laws, as well as medical cannabis policies in the United States, by visiting our education page.