Updated HGH logo

Cannabis Legalization in the South America

Where cannabis is legal in South America?

In South America, cannabis legalization varies across countries. Our interactive map provides an easy way to explore the legal status of cannabis in each country. Uruguay has fully legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational use, while countries like Argentina, Chile, and Colombia focus on decriminalization and personal cultivation. Peru and Ecuador have legalized medical cannabis. With our map, you can quickly navigate the region and access specific details about cannabis policies in each country. Stay informed about the diverse cannabis landscape in South America using our interactive map and discover the latest developments in cannabis legalization across the region. 

Legalization Guide:


Legalization by Country:

  • Medical: Legalized
  • Recreational: Not Legal
  • Description: Argentina allows the use of medical cannabis with certain restrictions.
  • Medical: Legalized
  • Recreational: Legalized (in private areas)
  • Description: Bolivia permits both medical and recreational cannabis use in private spaces.
  • Medical: Legalized
  • Recreational: Not Legal
  • Description: Brazil allows the use of medical cannabis with specific regulations.
  • Medical: Legalized
  • Recreational: Legalized (up to 1% THC)
  • Description: Colombia has legalized the cultivation and sale of cannabis products with THC content up to 1%.
  • Medical: Not Legal
  • Recreational: Not Legal
  • Description: Cannabis is illegal, and possession can result in legal penalties.
  • Medical: Not Legal

  • Recreational: Not Legal

  • Description: Cannabis is illegal, and possession can lead to legal consequences.

  • Medical: Not Legal
  • Recreational: Not Legal
  • Description: Cannabis is strictly prohibited, and possession can result in legal penalties.
  • Medical: Legalized
  • Recreational: Legalized (in private areas)
  • Description: Peru allows the use of medical and recreational cannabis in private spaces.
  • Medical: Not Legal
  • Recreational: Not Legal
  • Description: Cannabis is illegal, and possession can lead to legal consequences.
  • Medical: Legalized
  • Recreational: Not Legal
  • Description: Venezuela allows the use of medical cannabis under specific regulations.

Cannabis in South America: History, Laws, Legalization, and Impact

The relationship between cannabis and South America is rich and varied, reflecting the diversity of the continent’s cultures, histories, and societies. This essay delves into the history of cannabis in South America, the current legal landscape, the ongoing drive towards legalization, and the impacts of these on the continent.

Historical Context

Cannabis was introduced to South America by European colonizers in the 16th century. It was initially cultivated for its hemp, used in making ropes, textiles, and oil. However, its use as a psychoactive substance did not become widespread until the 19th and 20th centuries, when it was brought by immigrants and spread by cultural exchange.

The Legal Landscape: Prevalent Laws and Regulations

Laws around cannabis in South America differ from country to country, with a trend towards liberalization in recent years.


In Argentina, personal use of cannabis in private locations has been decriminalized. In 2017, medical use was legalized, though access is limited and regulated. Cultivation for personal use remains illegal, though there are ongoing discussions about potential reform.


Chile has some of the most liberal cannabis laws in South America. Personal use and cultivation are decriminalized, and medical use is legal and regulated. However, sale and unauthorized cultivation can result in prison terms.


Uruguay is a trailblazer in cannabis legalization. In 2013, it became the first country globally to fully legalize cannabis, allowing for recreational use, personal cultivation, and sale through licensed pharmacies.

Efforts Towards Legalization

There’s an ongoing trend towards legalization and decriminalization across South America, driven by a variety of factors, including potential economic benefits, public health considerations, and the desire to address issues related to drug trafficking.


Colombia has made significant strides towards cannabis legalization. Medical cannabis was legalized in 2016, and in 2021, a bill to legalize recreational use was introduced, though it has not yet passed. The country has a history of drug-related violence, and advocates argue that legalization could help address this issue.


In Brazil, cannabis remains illegal, but there’s a growing movement towards medical cannabis legalization. In 2019, regulators approved rules for the sale of medicinal cannabis-based products.

Impact of Cannabis Laws and Legalization Efforts

The effects of cannabis laws and their reform in South America are multifaceted, touching on economic, health, and social issues.

Economic Impacts

The legal cannabis market presents substantial economic opportunities. Countries like Uruguay and Colombia have attracted international investment in their cannabis industries. This has potential implications for job creation, tax revenue, and economic development.

Health Impacts

In terms of health, the legalization of medical cannabis provides patients with new treatment options. However, the potential increase in recreational use following legalization could have public health implications, including increased rates of dependency and mental health issues.

Social and Legal Impacts

From a societal perspective, cannabis legalization could have significant implications. It has the potential to reduce drug-related violence and organized crime, which are major issues in many South American countries. Legalization can also address social justice concerns, as drug laws often disproportionately affect marginalized communities.

Cannabis in South America has a complex and evolving narrative. From the early days of hemp cultivation to the recent moves towards widespread legalization, the plant has been, and continues to be, a significant aspect of the continent’s socio-political landscape.

As attitudes towards cannabis shift globally, South American countries are navigating their path, balancing potential economic and social benefits against public health considerations. These decisions will shape the future of cannabis in South America, with implications for the global discourse around this multifaceted plant.

Explore Further...


High Life Global

Welcome to High Life Global, your premier destination for cannabis education, information, and exploration. Founded in 2022, we embarked on this journey with a clear and profound mission: to make comprehensive, factual, and unbiased information about cannabis easily accessible to all.



Weed Maps logo