Keeping an eye on weed around the world, we turn our attention toward Chile.
What exactly do North Americans think of when they think of Chile? We weren’t sure, so we asked around. We heard everything from sea bass to copper mine disasters to Pinochet; the mountaineers, skiers and anglers we spoke with were eager to add to our list stunning high peaks and unspoiled rivers with relatively little traffic. By all accounts, Chile is a prosperous, tidy and smooth-running nation with much to boast of.
Chile may now be known for this as well: it recently added its name to a very short but growing list of South American nations seriously contemplating legalizing recreational marijuana use. Chile’s congress is debating the matter in its current session. It seems that a conservative old-guard may be outnumbered by progressives, and not just on matters marijuana.
Ana Maria Gazmuri, a former soap-opera star and head of the foundation behind Chile’s pilot medical cannabis plantation, lumped weed in with some other volatile social issues when she told Reuters this about her nation: “Regarding marriage equality, regarding cannabis, regarding abortion – the majority opinion is in favor of securing these rights.”
Might Chile follow nearby Uruguay’s lead and legalize marijuana for its citizens but not for foreigners? Ostensibly a qualifier meant to prevent marijuana tourism, Uruguay’s new law is unique in the region, and their prohibition has ended.
Chile’s seems to be close to an end as well. A case in point would be that medical cannabis plantation supported by Ms. Gazmuri, hundreds of plants burgeoning in the strong sun just 170 miles south of Chile’s capital city, Santiago. It is currently the largest legal marijuana plantation in South America, a promising start for a country that may end up following its neighbor towards legalization.
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