Voting on Medical Cannabis Bill Postponed Press Release By Senator Juan Manuel Galán

 

 

Voting postponed on [S] Bill# 80 2014 -a bill to regulate the therapeutic and medical uses of marijuana.

 

"We wish for all of the parliamentary groups and Senators to be as informed as possible and that their concerns regarding this bill be addressed. This bill is solely for medical purposes; just in the case of people suffering drug-resistant epilepsy, 400,000 Colombians would benefit from this initiative.” 

Bogotá. December 15, 2014.

Senator Juan Manuel Galán, author of the bill, reaffirmed that the spirit of the bill is to free people suffering illnesses from the grip of the illegal market to which they currently turn to obtain a substance to alleviate their pain and treat their illnesses.  ¨We want them to turn to the State, to the Government, to our institutions and not to organized crime in other to obtain this substance.”

Different stances were heard during the voting of [S] Bill # 80 2014 in the Senate Plenary Session. The Centro Democrático parliamentary group said it opposed its approval and deferment and insisted that this law is not necessary.

The Conservatives, headed by Senator Hernán Andrade, made clear that they voted against the bill since they consider that this can be a first step to legalizing marijuana for recreational uses. ¨We   —the Conservative parliamentary Group— do not accept this step towards legalizing this drug and we feel that we are [thus] interpreting a great part of Colombia society”, said Andrade.

Voting adjournment was initially proposed by Conservative Senator Juan Diego Gómez, who argued that it is necessary in order further analyze it and increase the scope of its discussion.   Senator Horacio Serpa, likewise, stated that,  “we would like to ask Senator Galán to take the postponement of this discussion into consideration so that in March we can have more to go on [assessment elements] so we can vote on this law.”  He also confirmed that the Liberal Parliamentary Group’s support for this bill, which it considers necessary to alleviate the situation of thousands of patients in Colombia who could thus improve the quality of their lives and ease their pain.

U Party (Social Party for National Unity) Senator Mauricio Lizcano took a stance against the bill, stating his concern regarding regulating and the contradiction that arises from telling our children that medical marihuana is good. He asked for the Senate to vote against the bill but proposed giving the INVIMA (Instituto Nacional de Vigilancia de Medicamentos y Alimentos /National Institute to Oversee Drugs and Food) the possibility of importing marihuana for those patients that need it.

Natalia Tangarife, Jacob’s mother and Executive Director of the Nurturing Hope Foundation (Fundación Cultivando Esperanza) reiterated   that “we are not asking for legalization for recreational uses, we are just asking you to see the humane side of the issue. What we need is to have control so that we don’t have to go to “ollas” (‘trap’ houses) or other places where it is sold illegally. Think of your children and families and I am sure you would also do this.¨

To continue demolishing the myths and prejudices surrounding this bill, Senator Juan Manuel Galán proposes meeting, if necessary, one by one with congressmen to explain to them the bill’s scope and spirit and the regulation desired in order to exclusively construct therapeutic and medical marijuana uses.

Lastly, he was emphatic, in stating that ¨There is no empirical or scientific evidence to prove that marijuana is the entry door to other substances. On the contrary, according to some medical studies, it can be the exit door for people addicted to [sic “other”] hard drugs since it helps them to ease their sufferings.

FERNANDO GÓMEZ RODRÍGUEZ
UTL H.S. Juan Manuel Galán

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