SPAIN should legalise cannabis according to the leader of the Podemos political party.
“It is absurd that you can buy tequila or gin from a supermarket, but marihuana is illegal,” said Pablo Iglesias, who has led the grass-roots anti austerity party since its inception.
Yesterday (Thursday October 18) Podemos organised a forum on the drug with a view to following nine USA states and Canada into legalising the cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis.
If their ideas come to fruition it would mean farmers would have a new cash crop. People would need a licence to grow, harvest and sell cannabis, with the political party aiming for controls which would favour private crops, small holdings and farming cooperatives in order to stop big business taking control.
At the moment the sale and cultivation of the drug is illegal, as is the public consumption of the drug, although smoking it in private spaces is not deemed against the law.
“The legalisation must be implemented mainly for medical use and research,” said Podemos. In a paradox, Spanish law permits the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, but it is not classed as a medicine so can’t be prescribed for medical purposes –only cannabis derived products may be used on a doctor’s prescription.
Podemos said that legalising the drug would replace the black market, reduce crime and control the age of people buying it. At the moment 90 per cent of young people say they have easy access to cannabis.
The political party added that tax revenues from the drug could be used to transform Spain’s public health care service.
However, the proposals have a long way to go before they are made into law as there is no political consensus on the matter.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has avoided the debate on legalising the drug, saying when asked about the issue on a trip to Canada that he had enough problems as it is.
Canada earlier this week partially legalised cannabis. People can now possess up to 30 grammes of the drug.