Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Legalization Debate

Juan Carlos Garzón Vergara has a post about how the marijuana legalization discussion plays out in the U.S. and in Latin America. In particular, he notes that Latin American political leaders along with the general public view legalization with some concern.

This is true, but I think his last paragraph actually points to the much more important dynamic going on.

However, this situation should not obscure the significant progress made in the public discussion regarding the hemisphere’s failed war on drugs, and the need to adopt a different strategy. On the contrary, it is necessary to intensify the debate within the countries and have a clear regional position about a likely legalization of marijuana in the United States. Latin-American countries must decide whether changes are going to be the result of a regional consensus, or if it will be a unilateral decision from the United States – again.

What this means is that for the first time there is actually dialogue rather than monologue. That's a major shift. Now, it doesn't necessarily mean the federal government will respond with reforms, but there is more recognition of the Latin American side than ever before.


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