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Chilean Government Will Not Consider Marijuana Legalization

By Mariana Zepedaon June 26, 2012.


The Chilean government is not considering legalizing marihuana as did Uruguay. Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service

SANTIAGO — The Chilean government stated that they are not considering the legalization of “soft drugs,” like marijuana. These declarations were made during the celebrations for the International Day for Drug Use Prevention.

Franscisca Florenzano, director of the Service for the Prevention and Rehabilitation of Drug and Alcohol Consumption (Senda), explained that the Chilean government has not considered these measures.

“This is not a path that we will consider taking,” she declared. Florenzano was interviewed in light of recent developments in Uruguay, where President José Mujica proposed government sales of marijuana in order to prevent drug-related crimes. Florenzano admitted that the President of Uruguay’s initiative has been closely analyzed by the Chilean government.

“This is a measure that we have thought about and discussed with great caution,” she said.

However, the government remains wary of such proposals. “Of course we will not make rash, irresponsible decisions that could affect Chile’s teenagers and children,” Florenzano remarked.

Rodrigo Hinzpeter, Chile’s Minister of the Interior, also spoke out on this controversial topic. He declared that the government would continue strengthening rehabilitation programs. However, Hinzpeter added that prevention would remain Chile’s main focus. Resources are and will continue to be allocated towards education the Chilean youth on the high risks of drug and alcohol consumption.

“This is an issue that we need to take on as a country, as a unified society. Today, our focus is on educating the younger generation,” he declared. “We want to instill conscience into the Chilean youth very early on. Hopefully, we can make our children aware that entering the world of drugs cuts life opportunities short, as well as creating diseases that complicate personal development,” Hinzpeter concluded.

Despite Hinzpeter’s call to tackle the problem as a unified society, Chile is known for its yearly demonstrations for marijuana legalization under the “No mas presos por plantar” countrywide campaign, which joined the ranks of the Global Marijuana March this year.


Chile joined the Global Marijuana March this year. Photo: Mwalko

Additionally, the potential legalization of drugs in Chile was discussed in April during a visit from millionaire Richard Branson, who acted as representative of Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Marijuana consumption in Chile is currently illegal for personal use without a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Possession and consumption in small amounts on private property is not penalized, but growing marijuana for commercial purposes is illegal, as is consumption in larger groups of people.

Medical marijuana is currently legal, but generally unregulated.