A woman reported to the police by her neighbor for growing cannabis plants to treat her arthritis pain was sentenced to house arrest yesterday. Adriana Funaro had previously been kept for three days in a police station cell. The police also confiscated the 36 cannabis plants from her house, as well as the cannabis oil Funaro’s plants had produced, which she uses as daily medicine.
Her daughter Micaela told Infobae that she was “relieved” as her mother could have been facing between 4 and 15 years in prison. “But it’s still unfair; the fight must continue,” she added.
In the past, Funaro has actively campaigned for the complete decriminalization of marijuana for all uses, but gave evidence in court that her use was strictly medicinal. She also produces cannabis oil for others, adults and children alike, to help treat problems related to epilepsy, cancer, autism and fibrositis, which causes severe muscle pain and inflammation.
There are other cases similar to Funaro’s. Valeria Salech set up the organization Mama Cultiva or “Mom Grows,” in order to promote the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes. She is one of a group of mothers growing the plant to extract the oil to help their children.
Her son is autistic and used to suffer from 200 seizures a day before using just a couple of drops of cannabis oil a day. Previous treatments, including 30 pills a day caused him to be unsociable, to stop smiling and to wet the bed frequently. “We are doing what the state won’t do for us,” she says. “The government continue to debate and debate but we can’t wait.”
Laws, policies and attitudes to cannabis use and production are rather vague in Argentina. Law 23.737 for instance doesn’t distinguish between those growing for personal use and those growing to sell to others.
Meanwhile, Article 19 of the country’s Constitution says that private actions that do not hurt others cannot be penalized by law. The Uruguayan government even legally commissioned an Argentine company to supply their cannabis, though it remains illegal in Argentina itself.
The debate in Congress over the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes in ongoing:
In September, 13 year-old Micaela Evans became the first person ever to benefit from Chubut province’s decision to legalize cannabis oil to treat Dravet syndrome. Evans suffers from the syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, for which cannabis oil is a particularly effective treatment. The oil was incorporated into the public health scheme.
At the end of that month, the government agreed to discuss the possibility of legalizing cannabis for medical usage.
As a result, in november, the Lower House of Congress approved a bill enabling the state to provide cannabis oil to people with certain diseases. It still needs to make its way to the Senate and be passed in order to become a law. However, the bill wouldn’t allow people to grow their own, which was one of “Mama Cultiva’s” main requests.
But then, in December, the government announced a national addiction emergency, aiming to crack down on individuals growing and discouraging debates regarding legalization even for medical reasons, so as not to confuse their message.