Is Weed Legal In El Salvador?

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El Salvador is the smallest Central American country by land area, and the only one to not have a coastline on the Caribbean Sea. It’s so small that if it were a US state, it would be the fourth-smallest, just smaller than New Jersey. Currently, weed isn’t legal for recreational or medicinal use in El Salvador. However, last year there was some debate as to whether or not these laws should be altered. 

is weed legal in El Salvador

Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this article at the time of reading. We take no responsibility for any inaccurate information.

Weed Laws El Salvador

In 2003, the government of El Salvador enacted a drug law reform of sorts. These new laws softened when it came to simple possession, but hardened for manufacturing and cultivating.  

Planting and cultivation could result in 10 – 15 years in prison with a similar punishment for manufacturing. Possession depends largely on the amount, much like many countries. For less than two grams there may be a sentence of 1 – 3 years, more than 2g could be closer to 3 – 6 years. Trafficking may result in 10 – 15 years.

These laws were altered in 2003, and in many ways are far more strict than they used to be. However, for the first time, there was a distinction made in potential sentencing for the amount possessed

Nowhere does it state the type of drugs these laws are related too though. Instead, the laws and possession thresholds seem to be the same for all drugs. Whether you have 2 grams of weed, or 2 grams of heroin, the legal penalties in El Salvador appear to be the same, according to tni.org.

The 2012 Decriminalization Debate

In 2012 there was some discussion around the concept of decriminalization. The Arch Bishop of San Salvador spoke up in a press conference stating that the legalization of drugs being discussed would be positive for the region. This was due to the massacres being caused by drug trafficking all over the area, along with the enormous murder rate linked with the illegal drug industry. A group of politicians agreed to do the unthinkable and discuss drug legalization, but little came of it at the time. 

Recent Discussions

In 2019 there was a reform proposal presented that wanted to make a number of changes to the El Salvador cannabis laws. This proposal suggested that cannabis extraction be made legal for the purposes of research and medical treatment and that medicines containing cannabis could be imported as long as they were closely monitored.

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It also stated that patients requiring cannabis-related treatment must be registered, and that those who were not could face large fines. This is the first attempt at cannabis regulation in El Salvador. Currently, it is still extremely unclear which way this will go.

Read Next:
The Situation of Weed in Honduras

Public Opinion In El Salvador

One of the largest barriers towards legal weed in El Salvador is public opinion. El Salvador currently has very low support levels for legalization. In fact, a study completed by Vanderbilt University found that support was only at 8% in 2014. Even in San Salvador, the nation’s capital and largest city, support levels are low.

This is a huge drop in support compared to the US, where almost all states have a majority supporting legalization. Only time will tell if El Salvador will finally take the legalization plunge.

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