Breaking News


Uruguay, Cannabis, and the Legal Climate in the Western Hemisphere

South America, like much of Europe and parts of the US and Canada, have a relaxed, or at least hostile legal climate in regards to marijuana. However, Uruguay still remains the only country to legalize the plant for medicinal and recreational use in the world.

Given this radical shift in policy and the fact that Uruguayans haven’t burnt the country to the ground in fervor of cannabis consumption and moral depravity other countries in the western hemisphere may mirror this legal decision.

Some source such as Leaf Science and the Huffington Post have noted that other South and Central American nations may follow Uruguay’s model. For example, in

Argentina it is permissible for an individual to use small amounts of cannabis on private property for personal consumption, due to a 2009 Supreme Court ruling. That said sale, transportation, and cultivation is illegal and those caught trafficking large amounts will be prosecuted. Plus, possessing cannabis even for personal use is still only decriminalized and not formally legal. However, the countries drug czar Father Juan Carlos Molina has suggested debating possible legalization in response to the Uruguay legal shift.

The neighboring country of Brazil has seen a recent court ruling which, while it hasn’t moved the country towards cannabis legalization, has set a precedent for a more tolerant attitude towards the plant. At the beginning of this year Judge Ernest Maciel ruled that laws condemning marijuana are unconstitutional, and acquitted a man charged with cannabis trafficin.

Maciel also noted in his ruling that the countries marijuana laws violate legal equity protection and said that they were “the result of a backward culture and mistaken policy”. This doesn’t mean that the laws banning cannabis sale will change right away, but it could set legal precedent Brazilian marijuana activists could take advantage of in the future.

To mention another example Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina has been a staunch supporter of drug reform in the country and has even taken his case to the United Nations. He’s also been a supporter of the pro-marijuana legalization legislation in Uruguay as well as Colorado and Washington State.

Moving on to North America, Canada may possibly be the second country to legalize marijuana due to the staunch support for the change in the Liberal Party. This will likely be resisted to the end by the conservatives, but this change may actually pass Canadian Parliament as soon as next year.