12 december 2011
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(ANSAmed) - MADRID, DECEMBER 12 - The Basque Parliament will approve a law bill in the first few months of 2012 on drug addiction, which will regulate "the growing, sale and consumption of cannabis". This is according to the second in command at the region’s health authority, Jesus Maria Fernandez, who was quoted by the EFE agency. "It is better to regulate than to ban," said Fernandez, who called the consumption of cannabis "a practice that is already consolidated".
His words were echoed by the leading health official, Rafael Bengoa, who said: "We do not want to be prohibitionists". The consumption and possession of cannabis are regulated by the penal code and by the law on citizen security. For the new ruling, for which "technical and legal studies have been undertaken", the regional government wants to "open a debate" with associations in favour of consumption and to "shape their rights".
The law bill on drug addiction also features prevention and treatment for gambling addictions, which affect 2% of the Basque population, and for addiction to new technology. (ANSAmed).
The Basque Government was forced to issue a new statement to clarify its position. Bengoa said that the regional government "at NO time raised the LEGALISATION or permissiveness towards the consumption of cannabis, BUT wants to establish a REGULATION WITHIN THE EXISTING LAWS aimed at preventing trafficking, the protection of minors, health prevention and provide regulatory support for self-cultivation for consumption in a responsible manner."
The Basque Health Department stated that its aim is to regulate the sale, consumption and cultivation by associations of users. These associations should meet certain requirements, such as limited access only to members, no entry for minors, recordkeeping of the cultivation and storage of cannabis and full information about the consequences of cannabis use and respect for the health of others.