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 / 20 FEB 2013

The Peruvian government has sent a no compromise message to coca growers, reinforcing the Humala administration's hardline policies against coca…

BOLIVIA / 11 NOV 2020

The newly sworn-in president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, will face a number of pressing security challenges as he works to…

DRUG POLICY / 19 APR 2016

New details about an alleged hit squad run out of Honduras' National Police headquarters carrying out high profile assassinations for…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.