Chile is really stepping up its weed game, opening a massive cannabis farm.
In December, President Michelle Bachelet signed an official decree to remove cannabis from the country’s list of “hard drugs,” a move that many saw as a potential first step toward legalization.
And now, the country just unveiled a brand new, massive cannabis farm in the small town of Colbun, about 170 miles south of Santiago.
The farm is owned and run by a medical marijuana advocacy group called the Daya Foundation, but the entire farm will operate under the supervision of the Chilean government, according to news sources.
For now, the main goal of the farm is to grow pot for medicinal uses.
“This farm will further permit people to see for themselves the reality of the plant, and what its uses are,” said Ana Maria Gazmuri, who is a lead organizer for the Daya Foundation.
The farm is an outgrowth of a larger project that began back in 2014, when the Foundation worked to provide cannabis-based medical treatment to 200 cancer patients.
Now, with their new farm in place, project organizers are hoping to harvest close to 7,000 cannabis plants for a grant total of somewhere around 1.65 tons of marijuana.
They estimate that the crop will be ready sometime between March and May, and that it will be able to treat at least 4,000 patients throughout the country.
For the cannabis community in Chile, this farm represents yet another important step in changing the country’s historically conservative views on marijuana.
“We are clearly living changes in policies in Chile and in public perception,” Gazmuri said.
“Even if people do not believe it, Chile is now the regional pioneer in medicinal cannabis cultivation.”
The opening of Chile’s new cannabis farm also marks the latest development in a more general move toward legalization throughout Central and South America.
In 2013, Uruguay legalized the production, sale, and use of medical marijuana; last November, Mexico began allowing limited production of cannabis plants; and most recently, Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree to legalize medical marijuana.