Marijuana harvested for medical use in Chile

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- A Chilean municipality harvested legal medical marijuana Tuesday as part of a government-approved pilot project aimed at helping ease pain in cancer patients.

The harvest comes after Chile's first planting of pot for medical uses in October 2014. It is the work of a municipality in the capital of Santiago and the Daya Foundation, a nonprofit group that sponsors pain-relieving therapies.

"We're laying the foundations for what will be the national production of medical cannabis," Daya's president, Ana Maria Gazmuri, said after cutting branches from cannabis plants.

Oil extracted from about half of some 850 plants imported from the Netherlands will be given to 200 patients in the coming months.

Planting, selling and transporting marijuana is usually illegal in Chile and carries prison terms of up to 15 years. But the law allows medical use of marijuana with the authorization of several ministries.

The Chilean experiment adds to an international trend of easing restrictions on marijuana for medical or personal use. More than 20 U.S. states allow some form of medical marijuana and Colorado and Washington have legalized personal use. In the Americas, Uruguay became the first nation to create a legal marijuana market in 2013.

"It's a huge achievement," said Cecilia Heyder, who suffers from systemic lupus and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. "I just wish all of Chile's municipalities could achieve this as well."

Chilean lawmakers in a health commission approved a plan to legalize the planting of marijuana. The measure would allow planting of up to six plants for recreation use, but it still needs to be approved by both houses of Congress.

More from AOL.com:
Brazilian prosecutors charge judge with embezzlement
Maya Angelou stamp includes quote that isn't hers
Plane returning from NCAA game crashes in Illinois; 7 dead

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.