Chile Speaks Cannabis

My philosophy is that those who oppose cannabis, really have no f*cking idea what they are talking about. Hence being empathetic, firm and stubbornly patient is key.

The Chilean Congress is working these days in a project that will reform their current “Law 20,000” that regulates all the illegal drugs in the country including cannabis.

This project will allow people to grow up to six plants at home and will direct the government to work on a wider regulation for its medicinal use.

A video of the well known activist Cecilia Heyder confronting representative Marisol Turres has been making headlines across the region. In it Ms. Heyder criticizes the rule that prohibits the consumption of cannabis publicly. She argues that this is like any other medicine and that she doesn’t choose when to be in pain while living her life.

Cecilia Heyder left and Respresentative Marisol Turres discuss during a press conference.

Few points come to my mind while watching the video that are fundamental to keep in mind for all of us working in the cannabis industry. 

In one hand Ms. Heyder is completely right on her argument: Any other pharmaceutical drugs can be used and abused publicly and there is no law against it so why should cannabis be any different, right?

But on the other hand, Reality Bites. Cannabis carries a pretty big stigma, it is surrounded by tall walls of taboo built for almost a century and there is way too much ignorance about it. 

My philosophy is that people who oppose cannabis, deep down in their minds and hearts, really have no f*cking idea what cannabis is and how completely jacked up the prohibition has been. So empathy is for me always the first step.

Questioning and explaining always follows. I bet you the Congress woman in the video had the image in her mind of large groups of young people smoking freely and openly in the streets. What we in the cannabis industry have known for a long time about using different delivery systems such as oils, vaporizers, tinctures, foods and drinks among many others is virtually unknown to most lawmakers. So explaining this, with stubbornly calmness, is fundamental to win people over in this debate.

I personally don’t see the point of confrontation at all. All those who are in the fence about cannabis regulation and watch the video, just see a “drug user” being mean and impolite reinforcing negatives stereotypes. Of course that people who are ill and in pain should not care about being polite at all when their health is a stake, but the channel many times end up being the message.

Finally whether cannabis can be used publicly or not is such a small thing when the entire production and consumption carries jail time. Chose your fights carefully, is the name of the game.

This is what is happening in Chile right now, while the first legal cannabis crop is being harvested, congress is talking about decriminalization and regulation. 

Very important steps that may very well see Chile legalizing cannabis sometime before the end of this year or in 2016.


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