Gabriel Boric is the youngest president in the history of Chile. His experience as leader of the University of Chile Student Federation (FECH) and member of the Chilean House of Representatives was enough for him to beat his far-right opponent José Antonio Kast. Government decentralisation and decent work in Chile were two items addressed on many occasions during his campaign. In fact, Boric plans to support a project titled “Green Development,” with the idea of creating more than half a million jobs for women and a national care system. It comes as no surprise that decriminalising cannabis self-cultivation has found its way into Boric’s agenda. “Legislation based on science,” stated the president elect on a nation-wide radio station. His left-wing stance and his acknowledging the efforts of Fundación Dallas indicate that an open debate on this topic will be included in the presidential agenda.
The Presidential View on Cannabis
In 2015, as a member of the Chilean House of Representatives, Gabriel Boric voted in favour of a bill for the legalisation of cannabis self-cultivation. “Those who have the greatest stake in upholding prohibition are drug-trafficking organisations. Today, I support this bill,” wrote Boric on this Twitter account on July 7th. The bill was defeated in the House of Representatives and, in November 2018, Boric signed a proposal to reintroduce the initiative together with other opposition representatives.
The president elect is not a marijuana user, but he stands by science, bringing hope in terms of legalisation as research on medical cannabis is gaining ground in the region and Chile is not the exception. In December 2015, the government reacted by authorising, by way of a decree, the sale of pharmaceutical drugs containing cannabis for medical purposes on prescription.
Just over a month after that, on January 15th, 2016 and 3 months after the sowing took place, the largest medical cannabis plantation in Latin America was formally inaugurated in Quinamávida, Colbún district, in the Maule region. The estate comprises more than 6500 plants and harvested crops were allocated to develop cannabis products for medical use.
In 2017, after requiring the applicant laboratory to file evidence on safety and effectiveness, the Public Health Institute of Chile entered a cannabis-based medication into its register, authorising the distribution of this drug to pharmacies all across the country.
Chile acknowledges and legalises the medical use of cannabis under Decree No. 84, which amends Regulations 404 and 405 on Psychoactive Drugs and Narcotics, respectively. All in all, medical cannabis is legal in Chile. However, activist groups, organisations and growers claim that Chile needs a comprehensive piece of legislation that governs cannabis at its fullest, including recreational users, NGOs, scientific organisations, and small-scale producers. The experience of the Chilean people will drive the new president of Chile to move towards cannabis legalisation and to make further progress in terms of scientific research.