Lighting Up In Latin America

As Roberto Ferdman informs us, “It’s barely been a month since Uruguay moved to legalize marijuana, and yet the effects of the decision are already being felt well outside of its borders”:

Neighboring Argentina, a long-time proponent of keeping marijuana illegal, gave its first indication that Uruguay’s pivot has tempted it to at least consider legalizing the drug. The recently appointed head of Argentina’s counter-narcotics agency, Juan Carlos Molina, admitted as much in a recent radio interview (link in Spanish). “Argentina deserves a good debate about this. We have the capacity to do it. We shouldn’t underestimate ourselves,” he said.

There are signs that Mexico is pondering legalization too. Earlier this fall, shortly after Uruguay’s lower house approved a bill to legalize marijuana, Mexico City’s council proposed legislation that would create a system of marijuana growing co-operatives, which would let people grow pot, but also allow the government to oversee its production and consumption.

Pot-friendly legislation still faces obstacles. Support for marijuana legislation across the region is still well below 40 percent, and a number of governments, including Peru’s, Mexico’s, Brazil’s and Colombia’s have been reasonably steady in their support for US-style wars on drugs. However, a growing proportion of young people in some of the region’s largest cities seem to be slowly changing their views. An overwhelming majority of Argentine, Chilean, and Mexican youth are in favor of legalization – 81 percent, 79 percent, and 73 percent, respectively (link in Spanish).

Previous Dish on the Uruguay experiment here and here.