HomeNewsBriefOfficials in Uruguay, Chile Submit Marijuana Legalization Bills
BRIEF

Officials in Uruguay, Chile Submit Marijuana Legalization Bills

CHILE / 9 AUG 2012 BY CLAIRE O'NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

While the Uruguayan president has endorsed a bill which would create a legal, state-run marijuana industry, congressmen in Chile are pushing a bill to legalize the cultivation of marijuana for personal use.

On August 8, Uruguayan President Mujica sent congress a proposal for a bill that would establish a legal, state-run monopoly on marijuana cultivation and sales. The proposed law would give the government total control over the importation, production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

The principal objectives of the bill are to separate the legal and illegal markets for marijuana and to allow the state to focus its resources on combating more dangerous drugs.

The law would require customers to register with the government, in order both to prevent non-residents from buying state-produced marijuana and to track users’ monthly purchases. If a user goes above a certain limit, he or she must undergo drug rehabilitation treatment.

If the bill passes, the government plans to begin growing marijuana in September, although it has yet to provide details on how exactly the new system would work. Officials have concluded that in order to adequately serve the country’s 70,000 marijuana users, the government would have to produce around 5,000 pounds a month.

Also on August 8, two Chilean lawmakers submitted bill that would legalize small-scale cultivation of marijuana for personal and therapeutic use. Senator Fulvio Rossi, who admitted to regular marijuana use in a controversial interview last month, said that he introduced the legislation in hopes of initiating a serious debate about the appropriate limits for personal cultivation and possession. Although private consumption of marijuana is legal in Chile, cultivation is punishable with up to five years in prison.

InSight Crime Analysis

Concern over the power of organized crime and the desire to separate drug users from traffickers have led governments across Latin America to implement or at least consider decriminalization or legalization of marijuana and other drugs. Uruguay’s proposal, however, is unprecedented; according to the New York Times, establishing a legal, state-managed monopoly for marijuana would make Uruguay the “world’s first marijuana republic.

Drug trafficking and related violence appear to be on the rise in Uruguay, which has long been one of the safest countries in Latin America, but recent polling suggests that the Uruguayan public is skeptical of the government’s argument that legalizing marijuana will reduce organized crime and drug addiction. As of late June, 69 percent of those surveyed said the law would not reduce the drug trade. While creating a legal, regulated market for marijuana would certainly make purchasing and using the drug safer, many have questioned the government’s reasoning that access to marijuana will reduce consumption of cocaine paste, an addictive drug similar to crack.

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 / 6 AUG 2018

After a spate of homicides in Uruguay, there is growing concern that violence is connected to organized crime groups, an assessment…

COSTA RICA / 19 MAY 2011

Costa Rica’s President, Laura Chinchilla, said Central American governments should increase co-operation to combat the penetration of the drug trade…

CHILE / 16 OCT 2017

In Ecuador and Chile, two of Latin America's most trusted police institutions have been hit by recent corruption scandals,…

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…