The Parliament of the Canary Islands has asked the Spanish central government and the Cortes to regulate cannabis use, “from the perspective that it is a product that carries risks to health.” Only the conservative PP, Paritdo Popular, opposed the request.
The non-legal proposal, jointly promoted by the Canarian Coalition , PSOE, Podemos and ASG, also argues that as long as there is no state regulation, cannabis clubs and associations in the Canary Islands establish de facto mechanisms for self-regulation, good practice and collaboration with the administration .
The proponent groups argue that the use of cannabis should be addressed not only for its therapeutic effects, but also that it must be regarded as a substance that is consumed socially and therefore its use should not be stigmatized, since no ban helps reduce use.
The deputy of the Can Maria del Río considers it essential that not only consumption, but also its cultivation, be legally regulated.
It is estimated that there are about 50,000 therapeutic cannabis users in Spain among the four million people estimated to consume it.
That is why regulation has to be “integral”, because if only therapeutic use is regulated, the problem “is half solved” because there would be widespread fraud within a black market, he said.
Furthermore they argue that regulation should be made on the basis that consumption can be harmful to health, in the same way as alcohol or tobacco, and allow the business that lies behind.
Iñaki Álvaro Lavandera, from the socialist party PSOE, says that it is their impression that patients and associations of patients who use cannabis want legal guarantees, as do consumer clubs.
Elena Luis, from the CC (Coalition Canarias), said that “we must address reality” and not leave people and associations in “legal limbo.”
Zacarías Gómez, of the PP, justified their vote against the request by saying that this initiative is late, because the Congress of Deputies has already created a sub-commission to study the therapeutic use of cannabis.
He said he was in favour of therapeutic use, but with this proposal the Canarian Parliament had suggested that another type of cannabis use “is not so bad.”
The PP supported the fourth point of the non-legislative proposal, which urges the Government of the Canary Islands to submit a study to the Health Commission regarding regulation of the medicinal use of cannabinoids of natural origin, in order to favour the health of our citizens due to the therapeutic effects and solutions that cannabinoids are known to possess.
In the archipelago there were 124 Cannabis clubs and consumer associations legally registered up to 2015 and, according to the explanatory memorandum attached to the proposal presented in the Canarian Chamber, “within legal limbo, they carry out activities of production and distribution of cannabis and its derivatives among their members. ”
Hence, in the initiative from the five political groups, it is also proposed that law makers “invite” these groups to collaborate with public administrations.
The island with the most clubs of this type, according to the two year old data, is Gran Canaria, with 45 registered clubs, followed by Tenerife, with 43, and Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, with 18 each. There are none registered in La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.
The signatories of the parliamentary initiative argue that Catalonia, Navarre and the Basque Country have already produced official studies and reports in the sense that is now being requested in the Canaries. A Basque Cannabis Observatory has even been set up, which aims to articulate “a network of research strategies”.