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Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed a decree Friday that removes marijuana from the country’s list of “hard drugs,” High Times reports. The order authorizes Chile’s Ministry of Health to “permit and control the use of cannabis, extracts and tinctures, for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products.”

Removing marijuana from the hard drug list means that getting caught with the drug no longer carries long prison sentences. Many who used cannabis for medical purposes have been arrested and charged as drug dealers under the previous law.

The change in the law doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering the government recently approved a 6,900-plant medical marijuana pilot farm. The farm, which currently grows 20 different high-potency strains of cannabis, is the largest of its kind in Latin America, and the harvest is expected in April. 4,000 medical marijuana patients in Chile stand to benefit from the production and processing of the farm’s cannabis, which will be made into oils.

Medical and recreational marijuana was decriminalized in Chile in July. Chileans can now possess up to 10 grams and six marijuana plants per household.

A 2014 poll by the Chilean market and public opinion company Camden found that fifty percent of Chileans are in favor of recreational marijuana, while 45% were against it. However, the poll found that 86% of Chileans were in favor of medical marijuana.

Photo Credit: BruceW.

 

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