Nearshore Americas

The Growing Acceptance of Marijuana in Latin America and The Caribbean

The attitude toward marijuana is changing across Latin America, with some countries relaxing laws over the drug and others appearing to turn a blind eye over its use.

Most notably, pharmacies across Uruguay will soon start selling cannabis for recreational use, making it the first country in the world to do so, while Jamaica has decriminalized the drug, deciding not to punish anyone possessing less than two ounces of weed.

Both countries also allow people to grow their own cannabis plants, albeit on a small scale. It is legal to grow up to five plants in Jamaica, while in Uruguay you need to obtain a license to grow cannabis. Furthermore, users must be on a national register before they can purchase it.

Further south, Argentina’s Upper House has recently approved a legislative bill allowing people to produce cannabis oil and use the drug for medicinal purposes. Government agencies will soon be authorized to grow marijuana for research purposes, and there will also be laws in place to regulate the use of the drug, according to The Buenos Aires Herald.

Colombia and Chile have also taken steps to legalize medical marijuana. Even in the past, carrying up to 22 grams of weed wouldn’t have led to jail time in Colombia, say analysts. It is not illegal to carry up to ten grams of cannabis in Ecuador. Even Costa Rica has relaxed laws around weed, but has yet to set a limit on it.

Peru and Brazil are also making progress. A bill approving the use of cannabis oil is pending in Peru’s Congress, and healthcare regulators in Brazil have approved the sale of a marijuana-based oral spray to treat people suffering from multiple sclerosis.

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Over in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands, Antigua, and Barbados are also mulling over the legalization of the drug for medicinal use.

While most countries are highlighting the medicinal value of the plant, a few are aiming to destroy the black market by regulating the sale of the drug, showing the region’s clear determination to implement a more progressive approach toward marijuana.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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