Is Recreational Cannabis Reform Coming to Ecuador?
About 500 people staged a peaceful march through Quito, the capital of Ecuador last week, demanding that authorities decriminalize cannabis for recreational purposes, and further to allow public consumption. Many attendees at the march were smoking cannabis openly. This an act of courage no matter where you are on the planet, not to mention a dangerous proposition anywhere—even as a patient—as pro-legalization demonstrators in Melbourne found out recently. In Ecuador, possession of up to 10 grams has been decriminalized, although authorities can charge one with a crime if found with even 1 gram of cannabis. This is highly controversial because the local police do not carry scales. The decision to charge, in other words, is entirely up to the officer at the scene. Beyond this, according to the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador, Article 364 states that drug consumption is not a crime—rather, a health concern. Further, medical cannabis was legalized here by the National Assembly of Ecuador in September 2019. In fact, federally regulated medical cannabis production just kicked off in March of this year. Legal for Some, But Still Illegal? There is a reason people are taking to the streets demanding further cannabis reform this spring—and it is not just limited to this Latin American country. Marches have been held all over the world (even after 420), demanding that cannabis be fully and finally normalized and legalized. In Germany, for example, much like Ecuador, medical use is “legal,” and the country is cultivating medical cannabis. However, just like in Ecuador, patients and recreational users can be charged with a crime at the whim of the police. This is a situation that is intolerable everywhere simply because of the massive injustice it creates—not to mention the continual criminalization of large segments of the population for a “crime” that is rapidly…
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