HomeNewsBriefChile Kicks Off Medical Marijuana Program
BRIEF

Chile Kicks Off Medical Marijuana Program

CHILE / 30 OCT 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Chile is now the first country in Latin America to cultivate marijuana for strictly medical purposes, in what could represent the first step towards liberalizing the country’s drug laws.

On October 29, the municipality of La Florida in capital city Santiago planted 850 marijuana seeds to grow the plant for medical purposes, reported the Associated Press. The pilot project, which is sponsored by the local mayor's office, a university, and the non-profit organization Fundacion Daya, plans to produce cannabis oil for 200 cancer patients starting in May 2015.

In order to start the pilot project, Fundacion Daya and the mayor's office in La Florida had to get special permission to import the seeds and grow the plant.

Hannah Hetzer, the Americas Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance told InSight Crime in an e-mail that the project represents "the first exclusively medical marijuana program in effect in Latin America," since Uruguay's medical marijuana system has yet to be implemented.  

Chilean authorities told the BBC that the country is also the first in Latin America to allow the importation of medicines containing cannabis, after a breast cancer patient obtained permission to import her cannabis-based medication from Europe in August.   

InSight Crime Analysis

Like other countries in the region, Chile has begun to look at drug policy from a public health perspective, and the pilot project could represent the first step towards more liberal legislation. According to the Transnational Institute, Chile's current law allows the personal consumption of any recreational drug, but does not specify the exact quantities permitted. Anyone who grows or sells marijuana can be punished by up to 15 years in prison, according to the Associated Press. 

Elsewhere in Latin America, Colombia, Mexico, and Costa Rica are currently debating medical marijuana bills, according to Hetzer. Several countries including Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Argentina have also decriminalized the possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use.

SEE ALSO: Uruguay, Organized Crime, and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay has gone even further, passing a law to legalize the production, consumption, and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes and medical use. Although a July survey showed that over 60 percent of respondents were against the law, the Broad Front coalition -- to which current president President Jose Mujica belongs -- won 15 out of 31 seats in Congress in the October 26 elections.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

DRUG POLICY / 27 SEP 2013

Former officials and current celebrities have signed a petition advocating for the legalization of marijuana in Mexico, adding weight to…

DRUG POLICY / 23 JUN 2016

Security specialist Rubén Vargas called Peru's biggest coca hub a "time bomb" while discussing the failings of the outgoing administration's…

ARGENTINA / 20 OCT 2016

A rare report tallying drug-related judicial cases in Argentina provides an insight into how drug crimes vary by region, and…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…