Podemos Canarias says that the Canaries can lead the way in the regulation of cannabis in Spain, and thereafter in Europe. The political party’s secretary of Institutional Action and Mediation, Juan Márquez, has said that the islands can be a superb launchpad for the entire country to join other countries like Canada in legalizing cannabis. The proposal comes as Jesus Manrique, the chief of the Asociación de Usuarios y Estudios de Cannabis Medicinal Kaizen Tenerife (Association of Users and Studies of Kaizen Medicinal Cannabis Tenerife), appeared before the Health Commission in the Canarian Parliament on the topic of the regulation of the therapeutic use of cannabis in the Canaries.
Márquez himself said that he believes that the regulation of this “psychotropic substance”, has been clearly proven scientifically to have therapeutic benefits for certain ailments, and should be regulated in Spain. The Canarian Parliament has urged this already, he said, having called on Mariano Rajoy’s Government last year to make significant advances in regulation of cannabis consumption, bearing in mind always that it can carry health risks, like any product.
Márquez explained the current legal situation, namely that under article 368 of the Penal Code cannabis cannot be sold, but may be consumed freely, “which is why”, he explained, “it’s legal to sell seeds and to cultivate and consume marijuana in private places”. Unfortunately, he continued, the law does not distinguish between therapeutic and recreational use, though the Supreme Court has passed several verdicts recently which indicate a shift of opinion, clearly stating that even “illegal activity” might lack “criminal relevance under certain conditions”..
This is why, Márquez said, there was a joint initiative (pun not intended but fully appreciated!) of the PSOE, Podemos and Nueva Canarias, approved last year by the Canarian Parliament, for the 200 or so cannabis clubs and associations registered in the Canaries to self-regulate with good practices and collaboration with public administrations. He asked how long the existence of these clubs is going to be formally ignored, and stressed that apart from finally allowing the subject to move forward in line with other enightened countries like Canada, legalization would bring huge economic benefits through the meteorological and geological conditions in the Canaries which allow three crops to be harvested a year, not only creating agricultural sector jobs but also acting as a giant tax generator: Márquez pointed to California, one of the 29 US states where cannabis is legal, and where the economy benefits by legalization to the tune of some $6.5 billion annually.
It does seem likely that it’s only a matter of time before we in the Canaries have a public administration regulating (at least therapeutic) cannabis and ensuring correct scrutiny of cultivation and commercialization.