In October 2006, Amigos de María – Gasteiz
initiated the first Internet Pharmacy for therapeutical cannabis in Spain. This non-profit initiative facilitates the contact between patients and growers through the Internet. Its sole purpose is to improve the quality of life of patients who wish to benefit from the advantages offered by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active substance in cannabis.
Objectives of the association:
Promote the social debate towards the normalisation of cannabis
Work towards a solution for the difficulties generated by the social perceptions and stereotipes related to cannabis and cannabis consumers
Manage a place and room to exchange experiences, materials (Videos, books, documents) on the issue
Extend the philosophy, content and proposals of the Oñati Manifest:
Principles for social consensus on the phenomenon of cannabis, in order to promote its normalisation.
See an interview with Amigos de María’s coordinator, Paco Mascaraque.
In October 2006, Amigos de Maria initiated the first Internet Pharmacy for therapeutical cannabis in Spain. This non-profit initiative facilitates the contact between patients and growers through the Internet. Its sole purpose is to improve the quality of life of patients who wish to benefit from the advantages offered by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active substance in cannabis.
Although it operates on the Internet, the administration of the pharmacy is based in Álava, and more concretely in the seat of Amigos de María-Mariaren Lagunak in Gasteiz, which is actively collaborating with various Spanish associations who are working in favour of cannabis legalisation. The new “Cannabis Pharmacy” seeks to facilitate information to patients on the therapeutic use of cannabis and promote the cultivation for personal use by those who can use the plant as a natural medicine.
The pharmacy will dispose of a list of patients and another of cannabis growers who will donate part of their harvest essentially for the purpose of pain control. It will establish the contact between both groups. It will not directly administer stocks of cannabis, nor facilitate the transport of it. The sole purpose is to allow the exchange of information that will help patients with cancer, aids, glaucoma, asthma of MS, among many other pathologies, to improve their situation when using cannabis under medical control.
The continuous supervision by experts is one of the characteristics that mark the initiative in Alava. Paco, spokesperson of Amigos de María, explains that the organisation has installed various mechanisms to avoid possible manipulation. “Firstly, we carry out interviews with the people who are interested, in order to confirm that they are patients who fulfill the requirements to enter the programme. They undergo a medical test by a doctor, who establishes the dosis they are entitled to, and the way of administration”, he notes.
There are also procedures to avoid that someone can obtain economic benefits from the initiative. “The growers donate part of their harvest for free, we will make sure that absolutely no sale of cannabis takes place. Altruism is the fundamental element of this programme and we are going to defend it with all means”, says Paco.
Every week, two to three persons contact the seat of Amigos de María, in the old town of Vitoria, in search of cannabis to relieve their pains. Most of them want information, as they have already purchased their dosis of cannabis on the black market, to a price of 3 euro/gramme. “The other day, an old lady calls us to ask our help, as her sister who is suffering from cancer had swallowed a too large bud of cannabis and she was afraid to call the police. She did not know that what she was doing was not illegal and that the effect of a too high dosis of cannabis can easily be reduced with some sugar. We do not wish to accept this state of desinformation and panic” explains Paco.
A visit to the seat of Amigos de María does not guarantee a free use of cannabis. “The other day our doctor recommended someone who suffers from glaucoma not to use cannabis, as the disease was too advanced as was his age, a serious impediment to cannabis consumption”, says the spokesperson of the organisation. “We are not afraid as we are convinced that what we are doing is good and helps people. A law is only a good law if it is a just law, and this is not the case today”.
Amigos de Maria has recieved the support of the regional government of the Basque Country and various political parties for this initiative.