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CANNABIS CULTURE: CHILE - The highest ratio of cannabis uses in South America

An ongoing series of Cannabis Culture and Tourism internationally. Be sure to check out our website for more!

Fun fact: While cannabis is still illegal in Chile, private 'at-home' use IS allowed. Even more surprising, Chile has the highest per-capita use of cannabis in South America!


Could Chile be the next South American country to legalize cannabis recreationally?

In 2013, Uruguay made history by becoming the first nation to legalize recreational cannabis nationwide. There are indications that Chile may follow suit. Cannabis has historically been accepted in Chile, and as a result of recent legislative reforms, proponents are battling for the drug's total legalization.


Since 2014, Chile has been cultivating cannabis for medical use and conducting clinical studies, but it has been challenging for patients to access the medication legally. Michelle Bachelet, the president of Chile, approved legislation to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes in December 2015. The proposal will assist in removing many of the obstacles that patients have encountered while trying to get medical cannabis. The law also declassifies cannabis from the nation's list of harmful hard drugs, placing it in the same category as alcohol as a soft substance. The passage of this legislation will also legalize the sale of cannabis products in pharmacies across the nation and the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.


Early in 2016, Chile inaugurated the region's biggest medicinal cannabis plantation. Between March and May of 2016, the farm is expected to yield roughly 1.65 tonnes of cannabis, which is enough to make 30 million joints. Nearly 7,000 plants will be harvested, and they will be utilized by many colleges and research facilities to evaluate cannabis-based medicines for medical conditions as well as to provide free care for about 4,000 patients. Patients with issues related to cancer, persistent pain, or epilepsy will especially benefit from the research. Chile is now one of the leading nations in medicinal cannabis research thanks to the launch of the farm.


The legalization of small amounts of cannabis for personal use and cultivation is also being discussed by Chile's congress. The legislature of the nation put out a proposal in 2015 to amend Ley 20.000, giving Chileans the freedom to possess up to ten grams of weed and grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use. Although the measure was passed by Congress in July 2015, it still has to be approved by the Senate and the Health Commission before it can go into force. Cannabis cultivation, sales, and transportation are all still prohibited while the amendment is being considered.


Is cannabis legal in Chile?

In Chile, medical cannabis is permitted. The use and possession of modest amounts of cannabis in private are no longer illegal. Consume weed at your home or on private property to avoid prosecution.


Although Chile has not yet legalized cannabis for recreational use, a draught bill that would decriminalize small amounts of cannabis for domestic production and consumption was approved by Congress and is awaiting Senate and health commission approval.


Angello Bragazzi's journey as a cannabis activist and businessman is a reflection of Chile's development. He established Chile's first dedicated internet seed bank, closet. cl, in 2005, and began sending cannabis seeds there legally. Chile decriminalized the possession of small quantities of narcotics in this same year. However, there were still several cannabis crackdowns, including a judicial struggle to close down Bragazzi's seed bank. Jaime Orpis, a conservative senator, was one among those pushing for Bragazzi's imprisonment in 2006. Bragazzi was found to be innocent and to be operating within his rights in 2008, according to Chilean judges. Since then, Senator Orpis has been imprisoned due to a corruption investigation.


Cannabis activists gained momentum after the Bragazzi case by calling for legislation that acknowledged and strengthened already-established legal rights. As the need for medicinal cannabis expanded, so did the number of marches for cannabis reform. The government officially permitted the production of cannabis under stringent guidelines for medical research in 2014. President Michelle Bachelet legalized cannabis for specified medicinal use by the end of 2015. This law classed cannabis as a soft drug and permitted the sale of cannabis to patients in pharmacies. With the help of the over 7,000 plants grown in Colbun at the biggest medical cannabis farm in Latin America, a medical cannabis boom was launched in 2016.

Where can I get cannabis?

Patients who need medical cannabis will be able to buy it at pharmacies. In December 2015, President Bachelet signed legislation that made cannabis for medical use legal and allowed pharmacies to sell cannabis products.


The growing of up to six plants for personal, recreational use will be allowed if the decriminalization measure passes.


How much cannabis can I have?

Chileans will be allowed to possess up to ten grams of dried cannabis and grow up to six cannabis plants at once if the proposal to decriminalize weed is approved.


I'll get to the main point of your reading now. Except for Chileans with a prescription at this time, who else can smoke cannabis legally if you find yourself there? The nation has a lax approach to drug use, and discreet use on private property is typically tolerated. Cannabis consumption for recreational purposes in public is still prohibited, despite the decriminalization of small amounts of drug possession for personal use. Don't take foolish chances because it is unlawful to buy, sell, or transport cannabis because the police will crack down hard on you.


What kinds of cannabis will be available at pharmacies?

Pharmacy products containing cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabis extracts, and cannabis colorants will be legal to sell in pharmacies under the pro-medical cannabis bill.


In Chile, it appears that cultivation is booming. On the streets of Santiago, for instance, grow shops and headshops, are more prevalent. Around those who spend money on quality growing tools and specialized seedbanks, cannabis culture is developing. Although it seems like a long way off, recreational cannabis use is becoming more accepted. As a result, Chilean consumers demand high-calibre cannabis. There is a lot of variety with some top-notch indica and potent sativa thanks to more meticulous cultivation and superior genetics. Depending on quality, the cost of an ounce can range from $90 to $170. If you want to grow or use cannabis in Chile, the usual cautions about being cautious, careful, and aware of the law apply.


Is recreational cannabis use decriminalized in Chile?

Private cannabis use and the possession of a small amount (no more than a quarter ounce) of cannabis are now legal. If you can prove that you are only growing the plant for short-term, personal use, it is legal to do so. However, it is against the law to buy, sell, or transport cannabis. Additionally, it is unlawful to use cannabis in public.


Chileans will be able to grow up to six cannabis plants at home and possess up to 10 grams of cannabis for recreational use if the decriminalization law is approved by the legislature and the health board.


Where can I consume cannabis in Chile?

Cannabis must only be used privately. Cannabis consumption in public areas or areas accessible to the general public is illegal. Consuming cannabis in public will still be illegal even if the decriminalization measure is approved.


Can I bring cannabis purchased in Chile to another country?

No! Cannabis and products derived from cannabis must only be used in Chile.


Travel to states that allow the use of cannabis has increased recently. One of the main industries driving the cannabis industry is tourism. There are more opportunities for tourists to travel to these locations and have a good time as more states legalize recreational and medical use.


Changing attitude towards cannabis in Chile.

In Chile, cannabis use has a lengthy and rich history. Cannabis was reportedly available to American sailors in coastal brothels in the 1940s. Cannabis was similarly associated with students and hippies in the counterculture movement during the 1960s and 1970s as it is today. Chilean society as a whole uses cannabis quite frequently over the course of a lifetime. This might have had an impact on the cultural change over the past ten years. Cannabis use was hardly ever discussed in political debates in Chile. Now, pro-cannabis activists have succeeded in influencing both the government and the court of public opinion. The emphasis on cannabis' medical benefits appears to have been effective, especially in persuading older, more conservative groups who might just suffer from a condition that cannabis could help treat.


A bill that was approved by the Chilean congress and is presently awaiting senate approval may herald further reform. Up to ten grams of dried cannabis bud would no longer be considered an offense if the proposal passes. Additionally, it would permit the personal cultivation of six or fewer cannabis plants on private property. However, cannabis-related transactions would still be severely punished. It is unlikely that Chile will ever have coffee shops or dispensaries in the American or Dutch styles. On the other hand, cannabis clubs in the Spanish style might be feasible soon. In the small northern town of Arica, the Botánica Orgánica Cannabis Internacional already grows medical weed for its 20 or so members. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Chile legalized it, paving the way for the emergence of additional cannabis clubs.


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Linda Barnes
Linda Barnes
22 sep. 2022

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