INTERNATIONAL WEED DAY: Proponents are due to hold a demonstration to promote the decriminalization of marijuana and allow its use to treat certain diseases
By Jason Pan / Staff Reporter
It is time for Taiwanese society to investigate the medicinal benefits of cannabis in line with the international trend to lift and decriminalize restrictions on the use of marijuana, two lawmakers said ahead of tomorrow’s “rally for equal rights for cannabis” yesterday in Taipei.
Taiwan is one of the few countries that hosts a 420 International Weed Day event, which usually takes place on the weekend of April 20th. Most nations have canceled this event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to organizer Green Sensation consisting of doctors, lawyers and animators, among others.
The group issued a statement listing three demands: end the stigma of cannabis use; Increase the allowable limit for total tetrahydrocannabinol in hemp from 0.001 percent to the same level as in the US to 0.3 percent; and in line with the global trend, with the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs removing cannabis from the global list of narcotic drugs in December last year.
The issue of cannabis deserves wider discussion in society and lawmakers should sit down to scrutinize scientific studies and reports on the use of cannabis as a medicine or to treat certain diseases, independent lawmaker Freddy Lim (林 昶 佐) told the Taipei Times.
“Lawyers in Taiwan are trying to catch up with the global community on the decriminalization and medical use of cannabis, but the judicial system is still restricting it and classifying it as an illegal drug. Any change must begin with members of the Committee on Justice and Organic Laws and Bylaws of the Legislature initiating changes, ”Lim said.
Taiwanese State Building Party lawmaker Chen Po-wei (陳柏 惟) also urged lawmakers to review and press for decriminalization of reports and scientific evidence on the benefits of medicinal cannabis.
It would be a long process, however, as some sectors are resisting and are currently listed as Category 2 narcotics under the Narcotics Prevention Act (毒品 危害 防制 條例), he said.
Chen said he read foreign medical reports on how cannabis-derived products have been used to treat some forms of severe childhood epilepsy and major illnesses, as well as for chronic pain relief and for terminal patients.
Leading supporters of Green Sensation include Zoe Lee (李菁琪), a prominent human rights attorney and member of the Green Party in Taiwan, known as the “cannabis attorney,” for people fighting cannabis possession charges and dealing with “illegal Tactics “deal with legal counseling police in random checks for drug possession.
Tomorrow’s event is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Jinan Road, next to the Legislative Yuan, the organizer said.
In the evening there will be a street bazaar, competitions, encouragement talks and a musical performance. A parade around the legislature is scheduled to begin at 4:20 p.m.
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