After U.S. pot votes, Latin Americans question drug war
Successful ballot measures to decriminalize marijuana in Washington and Colorado are getting a reaction among leaders in Central America and Mexico continuing to struggle against illicit drug traffic.
QUERETARO, Mexico — The legalization of recreational marijuana use in the states of Colorado and Washington last week will lead Latin America to increasingly question the merits of the war on drugs, said Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla.
The first U.S. states to decriminalize will spur demand at a time when Central American nations and Mexico are paying a high price to halt shipments, Chinchilla said in an interview Sunday at the Mexico Business Summit, in Queretaro.
Voters in Washington and Colorado supported ballot measures Nov. 6 to allow adults to hold 1 ounce of marijuana.
"This is an inflection point that is going to demand something that some Central American countries have already been doing, which is to analyze in a deeper way different scenarios in the war on drugs," Chinchilla said.
Calls among Latin American leaders for a legalization debate have been growing after drug trafficking-fueled violence in the transit nations that sit between Peru, Bolivia and Colombia, the region's biggest cocaine producers, and the U.S., the world's top drug consumer.
President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto has said he favors a legalization debate in Mexico, where more than 57,000 have died in drug violence since 2006.