5 Latin American nations are set to carry presidential elections in 2021, with legislative elections going down in a further two. Most of those contests may have implications for hashish coverage, and we might be taking a look at what’s at stake in every vote, beginning with Ecuador, which heads to the polls subsequent Sunday, February 7 to elect a brand new president and legislature.

Final October, Ecuador’s agriculture division issued hemp laws, establishing a authorized framework for hashish with THC content material of lower than 1.0%. Possession or use of hashish is decriminalized, however just for quantities that don’t exceed ten grams. Would possibly a brand new occupant of Carondelet Palace push for additional legalization, opening the door to authorized leisure hashish?

The present frontrunner is Andrés Arauz, an economist and College of Michigan alum. Arauz’ working mate, Carlos Rabascall, has stated their administration wouldn’t modify the schedule that established that most quantity. Nevertheless, you will need to keep in mind the schedule contains medicine resembling ecstasy and heroin, from which the federal government may differentiate hashish if mandatory.

Arauz has indicated former president Rafael Correa (additionally a Large Ten grad, having earned a PhD on the College of Illinois) might be considered one of this principal advisors. It was beneath Correa’s watch that Ecuador decriminalized hashish and different managed substances (topic to the scheduled described above). Nevertheless, he was lukewarm on the difficulty of legalization, declaring in 2014 that his authorities had “a thousand priorities” that have been extra urgent. On the identical time, he warned “the present technique in opposition to medicine and drug trafficking has been an entire failure, so we should not exclude any risk, together with legalizing some medicine.”

Along with his rejection of the law-and-order method, the worldly Correa (who presently lives in his spouse’s native Belgium) should certainly concentrate on the ocean change that has taken place on the subject of hashish within the years since he left workplace. As for Arauz, it’s arduous to think about a 36-year-old who studied in Ann Arbor (dwelling of the Hash Bash) and Mexico Metropolis (arguably essentially the most liberal metropolis in Latin America) would have deep-seated hostility to hashish. It appears clear that hashish legalization wouldn’t be a precedence for an Arauz presidency, but when a debate does open up, his response and that of his trusted advisor is likely to be favorable.

For his half, Arauz’ major rival, Guillermo Lasso, tweeted final yr that “Cultivation and distribution have to be allowed for MEDICINAL USES.” Whereas his unequivocal help for medical hashish is encouraging, his all-caps emphasis additionally suggests he doesn’t help extending legalization initiatives to leisure hashish.

Underneath Ecuador’s electoral system, a second spherical of voting might be required if no candidate wins an outright majority within the first spherical (or 40% of the vote with a lead of greater than 10 factors over the closest rival). Most polls recommend Arauz might want to face Lasso in a runoff, however Yaku Pérez, a member of the indigenous Cañari group, stays aggressive for the second spot. Pérez has positioned environmental issues on the coronary heart of the platform, opposing extractive actions, which suggests he is likely to be amenable to additional growth of an ecofriendly hashish trade. So far as we will inform, although, Pérez has made no public statements concerning hashish.

In all, the way forward for Ecuador’s hemp trade seems secure, whatever the electoral outcomes. Furthermore, with some luck, the nation may see additional legalization. We might be keeping track of what occurs on February 7 and past.

Keep tuned for previews of elections in:

  • Chile
  • Peru
  • Mexico
  • Argentina
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua*

* Technically talking, Nicaragua might be having an election in November, however as issues stand, the ruling occasion might be free to disqualify opposition candidates.