“Convinced that the four-decade-old, U.S.-led war on drugs has failed, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and other countries are relaxing penalties for possession and personal use of small amounts of narcotics.
“Critics warn drug abuse and violence will rise if the small-scale consumption of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs is tolerated, but policy makers in much of Latin America argue the new laws will free up resources to go after big traffickers and treat addicts.
“The shift away from zero-tolerance policies has picked up pace in the past year and U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has voiced little opposition to the changes. That is a dramatic switch after decades of Washington’s resolute opposition to any easing of laws against consumption.”
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