Chilean TV Show Rehabilitates Marijuana’s Public Image

Cultiva TV brings marijuana activism to the small screen.

As efforts to decriminialize marijuana use make significant gains in Latin American countries, a new TV channel in Chile is now making an attempt to win the hearts and minds of the public at large. It’s called Cultiva TV, and the people behind it want to dispel misinformation about marijuana consumption and educate Chileans about the “medicinal, cultural and spiritual” properties of getting high. The program doesn’t just aim to change the way people think about and consume weed, it also intends to address marijuana regulation around the world and cultivation of the cannabis plant.

In the first episode, Cultiva TV reporters sought to understand European drug regulation laws. They visited a marijuana coffee shop in Amsterdam and interviewed a patient with dystonia who was consuming cannabis to relieve her muscular convulsions. Host Cristián Ansaldo dons a marijuana-leaf print jacket and walks through a lush green lanscape as he introduces each new segment of the show.

Cultiva TV's Host Cristián Ansaldo

“A revolution is in the making. It’s very probable that a global change will come from here, a globalization of auto-cultivation leading to a notable reduction of cannabis trafficking,” Ansaldo told press.

Ansaldo is also the director of Pos240, a Santiago-based company that distributes plant feed and marijuana cultivation implements, which financially backs the show.

In Latin America, marijuana still suffers from the stigmas attached to it by Cold War-era drug hysteria. Although public opinion has rallied in favor of its medicinal uses, people in Chile, including politicians, fear that legalizing medicinal marijuana will cause an increase in its illegal recreational use. Small gains, however, have been made: last September, Chilean authorities approved the first legal medicinal marijuana farm, and earlier this year, a Chilean cancer and lupus patient was granted “special permission” to take a cannabis-derived painkiller known as Sativex. Laws regulating drugs in Chile do not penalize personal cannabis use in a private setting, although they do outlaw growing the plant. Possession of marijuana or use of drugs in public, however, “can be punished with minor fines, community service or mandatory participation in rehabilitation programmes.” The legal definitions seek to differentiate between dealers and private users.

Cultiva TV Reporters visit a marijuana coffee shop in Amsterdam

Julian Meehan

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