Good news for those who live in Chile! You can now order medical cannabis at your local pharmacy. That is, if you live in Santiago, the capital city. This marks the first time weed has ever been available at drug stores in Latin America. And they aren’t the only ones following this path!
The Path to Legal Chilean Cannabis
Medical cannabis was officially legalized in Chile back in 2015. Then a decriminalization bill was passed in Chilean Congress. In 2016, the country welcomed its first medical cannabis farm, located just 170 miles south of Santiago. The farm helped thousands of patients. They suffer from a variety of conditions, like chronic pain, cancer, and epilepsy. But it wasn’t an easy road to medical weed legalization.
Although Chileans are allowed to use cannabis in the privacy of their homes, it’s still illegal to produce and sell it throughout most of the country. Which is ironic, as hemp was first introduced in the Quillota Valley as early as 1545. Of course, back in those days, people weren’t smoking hemp to get high. That came later, in the ’40s, when American sailors enjoyed weed in Chilean port town brothels. (A pharmacy is probably a much better place to acquire good bud).
How to Get Legal Cannabis in Chile
The news is great, but don’t get too excited. You can’t bring weed on your next Chilean vacation. Instead, you’ll need a pharmacy prescription. And you can only buy it in Santiago. The cost of the average cannabis treatment is a whopping $310, and that’s just for enough to get you through one month.
The future for weed in Chile looks bright. Chilean Congress is currently debating a bill that would make it legal for patients to grow cannabis at home. And more of Latin America seems to be following suit. In 2013, Uruguay made a move to legalize cannabis. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos even signed a decree that legalizes medical bud.
Up until now, Chileans have been importing medical cannabis or receiving it from charity-based farms. Chilean residents will now be able to buy the same T100 and TC100 chronic pain relief medications that are made in Canada by a company called Tilray.
Tilray has joined forces with Alef Biotechnology, which is licensed by the Chilean government. Alef will help distribute and import the medical cannabis. They will also continue researching the plant in hopes of developing even better treatment options. Tilray hopes to expand global distribution to Europe and more of Latin America this year.