Argentina has given the first sign that Uruguay’s groundbreaking cannabis reform just may have started a domino effect across Latin America. Following the momentous vote by its smaller neighbor’s senate this month — making it the first nation in the world to completely legalize the cannabis — Argentina’s anti-drug czar Juan Carlos Molina has called for a public discussion in his country about emulating the measure. His comments are the clearest sign yet that Uruguay’s strategy has kicked off a trend in the region.
The Uruguay Senate approved a bill to legalize marijuana and put its trade into state hands, in what many experts said marks a new model for the war on drugs in its principal battleground of Latin America. President José Mujica plans to sign the bill, which passed the lower house of Congress in July, into law. A Uruguayan state agency will oversee the distribution and sale of marijuana. The goal is to cut out drug trafficking and reduce the violence associated with it.
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. Uruguayan President Mujica sent congress a proposal for a bill that would establish a legal, state-run monopoly on marijuana cultivation and sales. Two Chilean lawmakers submitted bill that would legalize small-scale cultivation of marijuana for personal and therapeutic use.