Peru's government says it will present a plan to the right-wing conservative-dominated congress to legalize the medical use of marijuana “for the treatment of serious and terminal illnesses.”
The plan was developed by the administration of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski after police raided a house in the capital of Lima, where a group of parents grew marijuana to make oil to treat their children, who suffer from epilepsy and other diseases.
Officials say that trafficking and use of marijuana for other purposes would remain a crime under the proposal.
The bill will have to face the ultra-conservative political party Fuerza Popular, which controls 72 of 130 seats in Congress and is led by Keiko Fujimori, political rival of Kuczynski and daughter of imprisoned former dictator Alberto Fujimori.
Fujimori lost the presidential election against Kuczynski, a former Wall Street banker, last June by a very small margin of a fraction of a percent.
Aida Farfan, a woman who is part of the group of parents growing marijuana, told AP there are more than 80 members whose sick children have benefited from the medicinal properties of marijuana. She says the group has petitioned lawmakers for years trying to get those uses legalized.
However, Fujimori and members of her Popular Force party are a strong conservative political force in the country, vehemently opposing proposals to legalize equal marriage, same-sex adoptions and provide reproductive rights. Some predict that the proposal to legalize the medical use of marijuana may find obstacles with conservatives.
During her presidential campaign in 2015, Fujimori said women who are raped should “keep their babies” since they are not guilty of what happened to their mothers. She has also said she is in favor of the family, but only the heterosexual nuclear family.
Kuczynski's party holds only 18 seats in Congress, while Fujimori enjoys a solid supermajority that could easily block the president’s legislative initiatives. Even with help of the left-wing lawmakers led by Veronika Mendoza, it will be a difficult path.
The 41-year-old Columbia University graduate Fujimori has tried to disassociate herself from her father's dark legacy of human rights abuses and crimes against humanity, but she chairs a party that represents the policies and the political ideology of her father, as well as the cult-following built around him and his brutal policies.