Medical marijuana cultivation ramping up in Latin America

LIMA, Peru — Medical marijuana is winning so much global support that even the United States’ surgeon general approves. Yet it seems somebody had forgotten to tell Latin America, until now.

Chile has begun harvesting what’s thought to be Latin America’s first ever crop of legal medical marijuana.

Plucking and trimming buds from all 425 plants, grown on municipal land in the upmarket Santiago suburb of La Florida, is expected to take about another week. When that’s done, the growers hope to have enough cannabis to treat 200 cancer patients.

“This is a landmark not just for Chile,” Pablo Melendez, a member of the Daya Foundation, the nonprofit cultivating the harvest, told GlobalPost. “We believe this is the first such harvest in Latin America, and hope that we are, in some way, paving the way for others too.”

That could come as a surprise. Latin America is home to some...

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