Cannabis and Ballots, Part 1: Ecuador

Five Latin American nations are set to hold presidential elections in 2021, with legislative elections taking place in an additional two. Most of these contests will have implications for cannabis policy, and we will be looking at what is at stake in each vote, starting with Ecuador, which heads to the polls next Sunday, February 7 to elect a new president and legislature.

Last October, Ecuador’s agriculture department issued hemp regulations, establishing a legal framework for cannabis with THC content of less than 1.0%. Possession or use of cannabis is decriminalized, but only for amounts that do not exceed ten grams. Might a new occupant of Carondelet Palace push for further legalization, opening the door to legal recreational cannabis?

The current frontrunner is Andrés Arauz, an economist and University of Michigan alum. Arauz’ running mate, Carlos Rabascall, has said their administration would not modify the schedule that established that maximum amount. However, it is important to remember the schedule includes drugs such as ecstasy and heroin, from which the government could differentiate cannabis if necessary.

Arauz has indicated former president Rafael Correa (also a Big Ten grad, having earned a PhD at the University of Illinois) will be one of this

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