Across Latin America, leaders appalled by the spread of drug-related violence are mulling new policies that would have once been inconceivable, including decriminalizing everything from heroin and cocaine to marijuana, reports the New York Times. The Brazilian and Argentine legislatures think that could be the best way to allow the police to focus on traffickers instead of addicts. Uruguay’s president has called for legalization and government control of marijuana.
Guatemala’s president has called for a discussion of legalizing and regulating not just drug use, but also drug transport — perhaps with large customs fees for bulk shipments. Leaders in Colombia, Mexico, Belize and other countries also demand a broader debate on relaxing punitive drug laws. Uruguay has taken the experimentation to another level. United Nations officials say no other country has seriously considered creating a completely legal state-managed monopoly for narcotics. Doing so would make Uruguay the world's first marijuana republic.