Chile’s New Constitution: An Opportunity for Cannabis?

This past May 15 and 16, Chile elected a constitutional convention, tasked with drafting a new basic law for the South American country. Cannabis observers should take note, as the resulting document could have positive implications for cannabis.

Chileans voted in favor of a constitutional overhaul following the protests that roiled the country in 2019 and 2020, largely seen as a reaction against growing social inequality. According to critics, the outgoing Constitution of 1980 is a holdover from the Pinochet dictatorship, though others note the charter has been extensively amended during Chile’s democratic era, removing its authoritarian imprint.

Not surprising given the current zeitgeist in Chile, traditional left-wing parties won 53 of the convention’s 155 seats, with a further 48 picked up by independents, most of whom “are left-wing community organizers and activists of traditional left-wing causes, including environmentalists, feminists, public housing advocates and community organizers.” An additional 17 seats will be held by members of indigenous groups, “most of whom are also identified with left-wing causes.”

According to Fundación Daya, a nonprofit that advocates for Chilean medical cannabis patients, 104 of the 155 delegates to the constitutional convention “support effective decriminalization … of cannabis and home cultivation.” While medical cannabis is legal in

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