HomeNewsBriefArgentina Steps Towards Decriminalizing Drug Use
BRIEF

Argentina Steps Towards Decriminalizing Drug Use

ARGENTINA / 11 AUG 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Argentina’s president has endorsed the idea of developing more lenient drug legislation, marking the country’s first step towards joining a regional push for alternative solutions to the illegal drug problem and raising the question of whether it could follow a similar path as Uruguay.

Following President Cristina Kirchner’s approval, government officials began drafting proposals to decriminalize drug consumption, reported La Nacion. Officials hope to present the initiative — which is being led by Argentina’s Secretariat for Programming for the Prevention of Drug Addiction and the Fight Against Drug Trafficking (Sedronar) — to the Argentine Congress by the end of the year.

According to La Nacion, the reforms will be based on two previous proposals, including one that advocates for the legalization of all drugs for personal consumption and decriminalizes growing marijuana for personal use.  

Juan Carlos Molina, the head of Sedronar, said the idea behind the initiative was to use government resources to combat drug trafficking, rather than drug users.

InSight Crime Analysis

Under current law, drug users in Argentina can be sentenced to prison for possessing any type of drug, according to La Nacion. Although a 2009 Supreme Court decision found punishing adult marijuana users to be unconstitutional — provided they were not inflicting harm on anyone else — the decision has reportedly been interpreted in different ways by the lower courts, and does not prevent law enforcement officials from detaining drug users.

The current proposal reflects a regional trend of moving away from the prohibitive and heavy-handed policies of the so-called “war on drugs,” which have had high social costs — such as filling the region’s jails with drug addicts — and failed to slow the transnational drug trade. Last year, Uruguay became the first nation in the world to pass legislation regulating marijuana consumption, production, and sale for recreational purposes. Elsewhere in the region, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Costa Rica have all decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and Jamaica has recently taken steps in the same direction.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Drug Policy

Although Argentina has yet to release an official proposal, the current news indicates reforms could go a step further than decriminalizing marijuana for personal use, thus edging the country closer to the comprehensive reforms seen in neighboring Uruguay. However, officials have said the reform process will be slow, and the country may be waiting to see how Uruguay’s controversial experiment turns out before making any definitive moves.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 18 SEP 2018

Changing dynamics in the criminal world, new government control strategies and fast technological advances are forcing organized crime groups to…

ARGENTINA / 27 MAY 2011

Reports that Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin Guzman Loera, alias "El Chapo," lived in Argentina until March 2011 have…

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…