When Paradise Seeds visited the Expoweed in Chile at the end of 2014, we were excited to hear about cannabis scene developments taking place in South America. Of particular interest is the revolutionary medical cannabis programme taking place in Chile.
In September, the Daya Foundation got the news that it was authorized to grow marijuana for medical purposes - the first legal authorization to occur in Latin America. This was a historical decision that had the approval of Government departments, from Health to Agriculture, and the police.
We have another reason to be excited about this landmark programme as Paradise Seeds was chosen to supply the varieties to be grown for the Daya Foundation. In October we became the first company legally entitled to export marijuana seeds to Chile.
Daya Foundation Medical Plantation Project
Policy makers in Chile appear to be taking a pragmatic approach towards medical cannabis. Co-founder of the Daya Foundation, Nicolás Dormal, explains that the time for debate, fortunately, seems to be over in the country. "With 70% approval amongst the population for medical cannabis, it is now about education and information,” he says.
The Daya Foundation will be responsible for providing much of this information and education, thanks to the revolutionary nature of its programme. It is growing 600 plants in a joint initiative with the Municipality of La Florida, a commune (city) of 350,000+ people located in the Santiago province of Chile.
These will be harvested in April/May (the Chilean Autumn)and buds will be used to make cannabis oil to provide palliative care for 200 patients - half related to the Daya Foundation and half from the local public health system.
Which Paradise Seeds Strains is Daya using?
"When they agreed to provide us with seeds," says Nicolás Dormal, "Paradise Seeds became part of a historic legal seed import to South America. Later we started to learn about Paradise Seeds´s worldwide prestige for quality. Now we have a live confirmation of it through our high germination rates (94%) and the strong look of the plants, growing equally along the plantation."
La Florida has donated a piece of land for the project, fenced and secure to protect the crop, which was sown outdoors in October. The Daya Foundation, which will also be running a clinical study into the effectiveness of cannabinoids for pain relief, nausea control, appetite and sleep, chose strains with a high THC ratio.
Currently standing at just over 1 metre high, and described by Nicolas as showing signs of "vigorous growth", Paradise Seeds looks forward to seeing the results at harvest time and we will be updating you on the process of turning the finished product into medicine for cancer patients.
South America - The Bigger Picture
Check out the video teaser below of our South American travels - first stop Chile’s ExpoWeed. This was our second visit to the expo which is one of the new breed of southern hemisphere events looking to establish itself on the cannabis calendar.
The event, held outside in Santiago’s Parque O’Higgins, was attended by thousands of cannabis enthusiasts over the three days. ExpoWeed was an excellent mix of business, education and fun - with busy stands, informative seminars and skate ramps and movies.
For Paradise Seeds it was great to be back, talking with old customers and meeting new ones. We are really enjoying building up our customer base in Chile and love the friendliness and enthusiasm of the Chilean people. We now have several shops selling our seeds in Santiago and distribute throughout the country.
South America is a vast continent, combining 12 independent countries and 3 territories, and with a population of approximately 390 million people. The continent has many climate zones, running from tropical forest and arid deserts to the freezing temperatures of mountainous regions and while there are seasonal variations, winter and summer months are the opposite to those in the northern hemisphere.
The continent is also the natural home of cannabis landraces such as the Brazilian Sativas, Manga Rosa and Amazonia & Colombian Gold. These landraces have been explored extensively, providing genetics which have found their way into many cannabis strains that are popular today such as the White Widow.
Uruguay has no indigenous landrace, but it lit up the map of South America in 2014 with its decision to legalize the sale and consumption of marijuana by its citizens. Champion of the legal cannabis cause was president José Mujica. His reason for pursuing this policy was the result of his belief that the 'war on drugs' had never worked and it was time to try a new policy in an attempt to circumnavigate the drug cartels that have brought so much misery to the continent.
His term in government has now ended and in March he will be succeeded by a new president. While the progress of Uruguay's policy reform has been slower than was anticipated it is expected that new president, Tabare Vasquez will continue to press ahead with the planned changes to the law.
So exciting times for South America. For Paradise Seeds 2015 is a year for growing our links on this mighty continent, hearing what people have to say on the scene as well as bringing more of our world famous varieties to more indoor and outdoor gardens! We will be bringing you more news from our adventures in South America later in the year...