Latin America's largest medicinal marijuana farm was formally inaugurated on Tuesday, marking another step in the region's growing acceptance of therapeutic uses for the formerly illegal plant.

The 6,900-stalk plantation, located in the small town of Colbun, some 275 kilometers (170 miles) south of Santiago, will help treat some 4,000 patients from across Chile, organizers said.

This project follows on the work of a smaller, experimental plantation at a secret location in the capital, Santiago, and comes as Chile's Congress debates the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use and cultivation.

The head of the foundation behind the project, Ana Maria Gazmuri, said opinions about the use of cannabis were shifting in traditionally conservative Chile.

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Gram Slattery ~ Reuters ~

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