South America


The emerging global ‘dissensus’ on drug policy: Seizing the opportunity

The global counternarcotics regime, created and enforced by the United States since the 1950s, now faces profound challenges. An increasing number of countries in Europe and Latin America find that the regime’s emphasis on punitive approaches to drug use and the suppression of illicit drugs to be problematic and are asking for reform. This reaction is hardly uniform throughout the world, however, as critical players such as Russia and China, remain committed to the preservation of the regime’s long-standing punitive approach. Meanwhile, drug policy changes at the national and state level in the United States, including cannabis legalization in some states, are making it increasingly uninteresting, difficult, and inappropriate for it to play the role of the world’s toughest drug cop.


Ecuadorian Activists Want Nothing Less than Universal Marijuana

Ecuador’s National Assembly is currently debating the Organic Law on Comprehensive Drug Prevention, which could decriminalize drugs like marijuana.

Ecuador may be on the verge of a landmark shift in drug policy, as legislators debate the newly proposed Organic Law on Comprehensive Drug Prevention. The initiative, promoted by the ruling party PAIS Alliance, opens the door for legalization, and could spell the beginning of the end for the War on Drugs in Ecuador.


Slideshow: Push to legalize marijuana in Latin America

Two years ago Uruguay became the first country on the planet to okay the use of marijuana. This caused neighboring countries throughout Latin America to rethink their drug policies, and for pro-marijuana supporters to push even hard for legislation to decriminalize weed and make herb smoking and growing a legal act.

While many countries have made it a little easier for casual marijuana smokers to puff freely, there’s still some resistance to all all-out okay to cannabis use.

Click through the slideshow about to see which countries have adopted looser rules regarding marijuana and whether Uruguay will remain the legal-weed country.


Ecuador May Become The Next Country To Decriminalize Drug Use

Ecuador is in the process of considering a groundbreaking piece of legislation that would decriminalize the use of illegal drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, according to GlobalPost.

"Treating the drug phenomenon in a repressive way, as was done in the 1980s and 1990s when prison was the only destination for the drug consumer, is absurd," Carlos Velasco, who chairs the Ecuadorean congress’ Commission of the Right to Health and who authored the bill,wrote on his Facebook page earlier this month.


Ecuador Breaks the Ice on Drug Legalization in Landmark Bill

A new bill in Ecuador seeks to change the public-policy paradigm on drug use in the country. On Thursday, April 9, legislators held a historic first debate of the Organic Law on Comprehensive Drug Prevention in the National Assembly.+

The first debate on a landmark drug regularization bill was held in the National Assembly on Thursday. (Asamblea Nacional)

The project, promoted by the ruling party PAIS Alliance, was introduced to the chamber by Carlos Velasco, head of the Commission of the Right to Health.+

The bill aims for “comprehensive drug prevention, by establishing a legal and institutional framework to address drug use, and the regulation of the substances that are subject to control.”+


Chile Harvests First Crop of Medicinal Marijuana

Chile has started harvesting its first medical marijuana crop Tuesday, while the drug remains prohibited for its recreational consumption.

The 400 plants were sown in October in a heavily guarded field of about 100 square meters in the residential district of La Florida, in the capital Santiago. The non-profit organization Daya Foundation was then granted a permit to extract cannabis oil in a pilot program aimed at treating 200 cancer patients for free.

"This is about the dignity of patients who are dying every day in pain and with very expensive medical bills," said Rodolfo Carter, the mayor of La Florida, at a ceremony marking the harvest.

The cannabis leaves will now be processed in a laboratory, as the final product is expected to be ready by January 2016.


Chile harvests first marijuana plants in project to help ease the pain of cancer sufferers

Chile has harvested its first crop of medicinal marijuana as part of a pilot programme that is aimed to ease the pain of cancer sufferers.

Cameras were allowed in to see the first harvested marijuana plants being picked at the heavily guarded growing facility in the La Florida district of Chile’s capital Santiago.

The 850 cannabis seeds from the Netherlands, were first planted in October following a decision by Chilean health authorities to allow marijuana to be grown for medicinal purposes.


Uruguay Plans Pharmacy-Run Marijuana Sales in 2015 Under Vazquez

(Bloomberg) -- Recreational pot will hit pharmacy shelves in Uruguay as President Tabare Vazquez moves to fully implement a sweeping cannabis law signed by his predecessor, a senior government policy maker said.

“The law is going to be implemented and we are going to end up selling marijuana in the pharmacies like the law says,” Milton Romani, secretary-general of the National Drugs Board, said in an interview Thursday.

Wedged between Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay became the first country in the world to regulate cannabis for recreational, medicinal and industrial uses in December 2013. Former President Jose “Pepe” Mujica pitched the measure to Uruguayans as a way to allow legal growers to undercut a black market that government estimates put at about 22 tons a year.


Perhaps the world's most humble leader — humbly steps down

Forget honorifics like “your excellency” or “Mr. President” or even “Sir,” Uruguayans call their outgoing president simply, "Pepe."

José “Pepe” Mujica is stepping down after five years as perhaps the world's most humble presidents.



“This man is a guru,” says journalist Uki Goñi, “He's the head of state that refuses to dress in the pomp and ride in a limousine."

Mujica never occupied the presidential palace, he has never driven around in chauffeured limousines, rather, the 79-year-old head of state continues to live in his own country house 20 minutes outside of the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo and continues to drive around in his old, beat-up Volkswagen Beetle.


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