It is time for Taiwanese society to examine the medical benefits of cannabis, in line with the international trend to lift restrictions on and decriminalize the use of marijuana, two legislators said yesterday, ahead of tomorrow’s “Rally for Equal Rights for Cannabis” in Taipei.
Taiwan is one of a few countries holding a “420 International Weed Day” event — which usually takes place around the April 20 weekend — as most nations have canceled it this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said organizer Green Sensation, which is composed of doctors, lawyers and entertainers, among others.
The group released a statement listing three demands: stop stigmatizing cannabis consumption; raise the allowable limit of total tetrahydrocannabinol in hemp from 0.001 percent to the same level as the US at 0.3 percent; and conform to the global trend, with the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in December last year removing cannabis from the global narcotic drugs list.
The cannabis issue deserves wider discussion in society and lawmakers should sit down for a closer examination of scientific studies and reports on the use of cannabis as medication or for treatment of certain conditions, independent Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) told the Taipei Times.
“Advocates in Taiwan are looking catch up with the global community on the decriminalization and medical use of cannabis, but the judicial system still restricts it and classifies it as an illegal drug. Any change will have to start with members of the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee initiating amendments,” Lim said.
Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) also urged lawmakers to review reports and scientific evidence on the benefits of medical cannabis and push for its decriminalization.
However, it would be a long process due to opposition from some sectors and its current listing as a Category 2 narcotic drug under the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例 ), he said.
Chen said he has read foreign medical reports on how cannabis-derived products have been used to treat some forms of severe childhood epilepsy and serious diseases, as well as to alleviate chronic pain and provide relief for terminal patients.
Green Sensation’s leading advocates include Zoe Lee (李菁琪), a prominent human rights lawyer and Green Party Taiwan member who is known as the “cannabis lawyer” for providing legal advice to people fighting cannabis possession charges and dealing with “illegal tactics” used by police in random checks for drug possession.
Tomorrow’s event is to start at 1pm on Jinan Road next to the Legislative Yuan, the organizer said.
It is to feature a street bazaar, contests, pep talks and a musical performance in the evening, it said, adding that a parade around the legislature is to start at 4:20pm.
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