Dr Milton Flores more commonly known as 'Dr Cannabis' sentenced to 541 days in jail
Milton Flores, a therapist who helped his clients through meditation and cannabis has been convicted on the 13th of March 2013 for growing 120 cannabis plants without permission of the Chilean Service of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG). He was sentenced to 541 days in jail by the court of Puente Alto.
In regards to the law in Chile consumption of cannabis is legal; it is nevertheless illegal to grow with the intent of selling it. The SAG is the legal body that regulates amongst other things the growing of cannabis and distribution of permits. Dr Flores applied for permission but neither his excellent educational track record, he trained for 10 years becoming a doctor, psychiatrist and an expert in human development getting diplomas form both Universidad de Conception and Universidad de Chile nor the support of fellow psychiatrist such Gabriela Torres enabled his demand to be granted. Convinced by his research and expertise he preceded nevertheless in using cannabis and meditation in a controlled environment with his clients in the aim of helping people.
Flores has many supporters backing him up: colleagues such as Dr Sergio Sanchez drug policy adviser at the Medical College, patients, sympathisers and even politicians like Mario Schilling of the Partido Socialista Chileno (Chilean Socialist Party). They volunteered as witnesses or simply showed their support at the trial or online. This testifies that his decision to disobey the decision of the SAG had a positive outcome. The important prison sentence he will have to serve seems counterproductive, leaving his clients helpless and alone leaving an important feeling of injustice. Dr Flores was victim of a government institution not recognising how therapeutically beneficial meditation and cannabis could be in releasing the pressure some people suffer on a day to day basis.
As an expert psychiatrist he was also using the meditation and cannabis as research for a human development program taking people who suffered from depression and other psychiatric disorders and helping them reach their full potential and achieve greater. His arrest and prison sentence will therefore put an end to research that he declared had been showing encouraging results. Even though his work is not completed he remained during his experiment a respected figure in the eyes of other Chileans psychiatrists thus proving that his research was widely accepted and had potential to improve the condition of Chilean people.
The decision by the Chilean court to condemn Dr Flores to such an important prison sentence is a major setback; it will slow down the process of understanding cannabis and using it in constructive ways within modern society.