Skip to main content

Latin America: Chile Not Ready for Marijuana Legalization Yet, Poll Finds

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #590)

An independent candidate in Chile's December presidential election has raised the topic of marijuana legalization, but according to a new Angus-Reid poll, that's not a winning issue in the conservative South American country. A solid majority oppose legalization, the poll found.

Marco Enríquez-Ominami
More than 57% of Chileans polled by the organization said they opposed marijuana legalization. Only slightly more than one out of five (21.7%) supported legalization for medical reasons, and slightly fewer than one out of five (19.6%) supported general legalization.

Former Socialist Party politician Marco Antonio Enríquez-Ominami Gumucio, who split from the party to run for the presidency as an independent, had broached the topic. He created something of a stir in Chile by saying he "is a supporter of looking into the matter of legalizing marijuana."

That is apparently still a hard sell in the socially conservative country where abortion is illegal, being gay was a crime until 1988, and divorce was illegal until 2004. Whether Enríquez-Ominami's presidential bid gets any traction will be determined December 11, when the first round of the election will be held.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


eco (not verified)

Thanks for reporting on this, but please read the poll reports more carefully.

From the poll report: "57.5 per cent of respondents would oppose this legislation, while 41.3 per cent of respondents would support it either unconditionally or for medical purposes."

Do you support or oppose legalizing marijuana?


Only for medical purposes


Source: Ipsos.
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,016 Chilean adults, conducted from May 18 to Jun. 1, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.


Around 50% of Americans support legalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. For U.S. polls:

Polls after 10 years of Global Marijuana Marches.

I think it matters how the question is asked. People don't want a Libertarian free-for-all. They support small amounts for personal use. Distribution and public use of cannabis are different questions. These questions below got better results in the USA. See the above linked article.

"In general, do you favor or oppose legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use?"

"Scarce law enforcement and prison resources, a desire to neutralize drug cartels and the need for new sources of revenue have resurrected the topic of legalizing marijuana. Proponents say it makes sense to tax and regulate the drug while opponents say that legalization would lead marijuana users to use other illegal drugs. Would you favor or oppose the government's effort to legalize marijuana?"

Fri, 06/19/2009 - 2:58pm Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.