The State of Marijuana Legalization in Latin America

marijuana legalization in Uruguay

Surveys show Latin Americans are becoming increasingly tolerant of marijuana legalization.

Marijuana consumption in Latin America has long been associated with criminal behavior. Names like Pablo Escobar and Emmanuel Noreiga are forever linked to its history. Thus, marijuana legalization has certainly been slowed by fear. But with Uruguay, Chile, and Columbia leading the way in legalization efforts, opinions seem to be changing. In some countries, more than 40 percent of the population is in favor of marijuana legalization.

In fact, since Mexico’s Drug War, support for legalization of cannabis has grown steadily. According to the International Journal of Drug Policy, the percentage of Mexicans in favor of legalization grew to 41 percent in 2017 from 7 percent in 2008. A sociologist at the University of Santiago says,

“Until now, the scientific literature showed that Latin America had a consistent position on decriminalization. Our work points out that there are differences of opinion that could influence future public policies adopted in the region.”

So Where does Latin America Stand on Legalization?

Opinions on legalizing marijuana are trending towards positive. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. So far, few Latin American countries ban all forms of Cannabis consumption and production. But all have restrictions in varying degrees. Medical marijuana is legal in some countries like Peru but banned in others. Only in Uruguay, is cultivation, transport, sale, and possession allowed. However, non-residents of Uruguay are not still allowed to partake in the legal marijuana industry. This denies the potential for weed tourism.

Yes, it’s complicated. So instead of writing out a long confusing report, below is an added visual aid. This infographic does a great job of visually illustrating the legalization situation in Latin America. Charts, maps, you name it. Scroll down and get a feeling for the situation in a snapshot.