A New Taipei City man who was last week detained on allegations of growing cannabis plants and producing dried cannabis products was yesterday released after posting bail of NT$100,000 (US$3,323), officials said.
New Taipei City prosecutors and the Criminal Investigation Bureau coordinated police units from various jurisdictions to raid a rented apartment in Sindian District (新店), officials told a news conference.
Police found 19 cannabis plants, 400g of dried cannabis leaves and flowers, and a set of equipment and machines for the cultivation, drying and packaging of cannabis products, New Taipei City orosecutor Lee Ping-chi (李秉錡) said.
Photo: Chiu Chun-fu, Taipei Times
The suspect, a 24-year-old unemployed man surnamed Lin (林), faces charges of contravening Article 12 of the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例), which stipulates that “cultivating cannabis with the intention to supply the manufacturing of narcotics” can be punished with at least five years in prison and a fine of up to NT$5 million.
During questioning, Lin said he learned growing cannabis from online sources, police said.
He said he also purchased online the equipment to breed seedlings and mature plants through hydroponic and soil methods, but denied selling the dried products, saying that they were for his personal consumption.
Separately, Ministry of Health and Welfare officials said they would respond by April 8 to an online petition urging the legalization of medical marijuana after the petition collected 5,000 signatures, prompting an official response.
The petition was launched on the Public Policy Network Participation Platform of the National Development Council in October last year by a person identified as “Jim” and quickly garnered 5,117 signatures.
It passed the first round of assessment in October and the second round on Feb. 8.
“The trend in Europe and North America is for legalization of cannabis in recent years. Since last year, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines have opened up for medical marijuana use. The World Health Organization had also recommended that countries downgrade cannabis on the lists of illegal drugs,” the petition says.
“For adults, cannabis have much lower health hazards and addictive attributes at far lower levels than cigarette and alcohol, and therefore it should not be classified as a narcotic drug,” it says.
“Cannabis can provide treatment and relieve symptoms for a number of major illnesses, which cannot be replaced by other pharmaceutical drugs, including Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome, epileptic seizures and other conditions. It is known for improving the quality of life for people suffering from these and other serious conditions and people requiring long-term care,” the petition says.
Health officials said they are collecting information and reports about the topic to present the materials to the public on March 22.
They would conduct reviews and provide an official response before April 8, and might convene meetings to solicit opinions from all sectors of society if necessary.
Some Green Party members and independent legislative candidates in the Jan. 11 elections had advocated the decriminalization and legalization of medical marijuana.
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