SOUTH AMERICAN CANNABIS MARKETS
After legalizing medical cannabis in 2017, Argentina has yet to finish building the framework for its medical cannabis program. Argentina decriminalized cannabis for personal use in 2009, but public consumption is still illegal and can be punishable by fine. Despite not fully finishing the medical system, Argentinian lawmakers are already considering recreational legislation.
Medical and recreational cannabis are illegal but not always strictly enforced. There are currently no pending or anticipated plans to legalize.
Access to medical cannabis in Brazil is stalled because the system for cultivation, distribution and sale has not yet been established. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro takes a tough stance on narcotics, and is not likely to push the medical cannabis program forward or consider recreational legislation.
Much like other South American countries, medical cannabis is legal in Chile, but the system is still being developed and is not publicly active. It is still illegal to cultivate, distribute, sell or possess cannabis, but private growing and consumption has been decriminalized.
Small amounts of cannabis and other narcotics were decriminalized in Colombia, with medical cannabis legalized in 2016. Home cultivation is permitted for personal use, but public consumption is strictly prohibited. There are many Colombian lawmakers and International businesses that are actively involved in trying to legalize and regulate cannabis and other narcotics for public use.
Medical cannabis is illegal in Ecuador, but many grassroots local doctors have started anonymously prescribing cannabis and are being purchased through gray market sources. Cannabis possession is decriminalized up to 10 grams.
Despite being the largest producer of cannabis in South America, Paraguayans show the lowest rates of cannabis consumption. Most of the cannabis grown in Paraguay is smuggled into neighboring South American countries with stricter drug laws. Paraguay allows for consumption of narcotics if the individual registers as a drug taker. A limited selection of cannabis products is being cultivated and sold within the country.
Businesses in Peru can apply to become a medical cannabis producer, cultivator, researcher, or distributor as of 2018. Possession of up to 8 grams for personal use is decriminalized, but police have been known to ignore these laws and still follow through with enforcement whether they think the cannabis is for personal use or not.
Known as the first country in the world to fully legalize cannabis with the passage of legalization occurring in 2013. As the first country to bravely support the liberalization of cannabis consumption, Uruguay’s program did not begin conducting sales until July 2017 in order to ensure a fully regulated supply chain with all required track and trace requirements. There are currently only two companies licensed to grow, with only four cultivar offerings and a handful of dispensary pharmacies. But the country has expressed desire to increase international investment into its program and expand its breadth.
Venezuela is experiencing some of the worst recorded rates of inflation, political instability, poverty, crime and mass exodus. Cannabis is still widely prohibited, but possession under 20 grams is deemed personal use and will likely lead to a detoxification and rehabilitation facility rather than criminal punishment.