Chile’s presidential elections are heading to a second round. We’re paying attention for many reasons, not least the fact that the results will have significant implications for cannabis policy, not just in Chile, but in all of Latin America.
The winner of the first round was José Antonio Kast, who eked out a victory over second-placed Gabriel Boric. Kast and Boric could hardly offer more divergent policy directions. The former is a conservative (some say ultra-conservative or far-right) defender of Chile’s neoliberal model, who thinks Chile’s established right-wing parties are adopting the “slogans of the new left.”
For his part, Boric is a former student leader, whose coalition includes the Communist Party of Chile. Boric has pledged to kill off Chile’s neoliberal system, raising taxes, engaging in industrial policy, and doing away with Chile’s private pensions system, a hallmark of its current model.
When it to cannabis, however, there is not that much daylight between the two candidates’ positions.
Boric’s platform includes a call to consider legal changes to legalize adult-use cannabis. This stance is not that surprising for a 35-year-old former student leader with a tattoo of a trout on his forearm (a homage to the Magallanes region from