Are weeds authorized in El Salvador?


El Salvador is the smallest Central American country on land and the only coastless country in the Caribbean. It’s so small that if it were a US state it would be the fourth smallest, only smaller than New Jersey. Weeds are currently not approved for recreational or medicinal use in El Salvador. However, last year there was some debate about whether or not these laws should be changed.

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Weed laws El Salvador

In 2003, the El Salvador government enacted some form of reform of drug law. These new laws were softened when it came to simple ownership, but hardened for production and cultivation.

Planting and cultivating could result in 10 to 15 years in prison, with a similar penalty for making. Ownership largely depends on the amount, similar to many countries. Less than two grams could be punished for 1 to 3 years, more than 2 grams could be closer to 3 to 6 years. Human trafficking can lead to 10-15 years.

These laws were changed in 2003 and are in many ways far stricter than they were before. For the first time, however, there was one Differentiation in the possible conviction for the amount possessed.

However, nowhere is it stated what type of drugs these laws are related to. Instead, the laws and ownership thresholds seem to be the same for all drugs. Regardless of whether you have 2 grams of weed or 2 grams of heroin, the legal penalties in El Salvador seem to be the same, according to

The 2012 decriminalization debate

In 2012 there was some discussion about the concept of decriminalization. The Archbishop of San Salvador said in a press conference that the legalization of the drugs under discussion would be positive for the region. This was due to the massacres caused by drug trafficking across the region, as well as the enormous murder rate related to the illegal drug industry. A group of politicians agreed to do the unthinkable and discuss drug legalization, but little came out of it at the time.

Current discussions

In 2019, a reform proposal was tabled that aimed to make a number of changes to El Salvador’s cannabis laws. This proposal proposed legalizing cannabis extraction for research and medical purposes and importing medicinal products containing cannabis, provided that they are closely monitored.

It was also found that patients in need of cannabis-related treatment must be registered and those who did not face hefty fines. This is the first attempt at cannabis regulation in El Salvador. It is currently very unclear in which direction this will go.

Continue reading:
The situation of weeds in Honduras

Public opinion in El Salvador

One of the biggest barriers to legal weed in El Salvador is public opinion. El Salvador currently has very low levels of support for legalization. A study conducted by Vanderbilt University found that support was only 8% in 2014. Even in San Salvador, the country’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 that supports legalization. Only time will tell whether El Salvador will finally take the plunge into legalization.


Beth Edmonds