This week, the Chilean Official Gazette published the long-awaited Law 21,575 against Drug Trafficking, also known as the Anti-Narcotics Law (Ley Antinarco), a legal modification that seeks to strengthen the fight against organized crime and regulate the management of assets confiscated in said crimes. Promulgated two weeks ago by President Gabriel Boric, the new law also stands out for its effort to strengthen rehabilitation and social reintegration institutions, a crucial step to dismantle the infrastructure of drug trafficking.
The law is made up of six articles and two transitory ones, all intended to adjust the regulations of the Drug Law to the new regulations. These updates, as stipulated, must be made within three months of their publication, that is, before November 23, 2023.
One of the most significant changes is the incorporation of a subsection in Article 8 of the current Law 20,000, which allows justifying the cultivation of cannabis with the presentation of a medical prescription. This modification reflects an attempt to differentiate between the medicinal and recreational use of the plant, a distinction that has been a source of debate in the international arena.
The Anti-Narcotics Law also imposes severe sanctions on those who administer illegal substances without consent, with sentences that can reach up to 15 years in prison. In the same way, those who supply children under 18 years of age with products that contain solvents or harmful inhalant gases are harshly punished, with penalties of up to 10 years and fines of up to 25 million pesos (~$31.000).
In addition to toughening the sanctions, the law targets assets acquired through drug trafficking. Confiscated personal and real estate may be provisionally assigned at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office to state institutions or private non-profit institutions, provided that their objective is the prevention of improper consumption or the rehabilitation of people affected by drug addiction.
This new Anti-Narcotics Law is implemented in a context of growing insecurity in Chile, with a murder rate of 4.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2022, an increase of 34.33% compared to the previous year. In response to this crisis, the Boric government has given priority to 16 security projects in the National Congress during the past March.
The publication of this law in the Official Gazette is a sign of a renewed commitment to the fight against drug trafficking, a fight that is waged both on the streets and on the desks of legislators.