Latin America has long promoted a war on drugs approach. However, the significant levels of violence, as well as other health and social harms related to repressive drug control have led several countries across the region to call for an open debate on drug policy across the region. Uruguay has moved a step further by legally regulating its cannabis market.
The move is a result of the country’s new criminal law, which took effect Aug. 10. It treats “drug mules” who commit the low-profit, high-risk offense more as vulnerable people exploited by cartels than as hardened criminals.