The Latin American market for hemp and cannabis is worth approximately $9.8 billion. Globally, South America is the second-most ready market for cannabis readiness and holds the second position for CBD potential.
Keeping those facts in mind, it was not surprising when a study conducted by the University of London and the Universidad Andrés Bello showed that 40% percent of Chileans had used cannabis and around 48% supported its legalization.
But how does hemp work in Chile? Is it legal? Can you grow hemp flowers? Let’s find out!
The Chilean Background of Hemp
Before we get into the details, let’s take a brief look at the history of hemp flowers in Chile.
Chile was introduced to the hemp flower in 1545 by Spaniards, who made hemp cultivation obligatory and established the first hemp flower plantations north of Santiago. Following this, Chile has a 400-hundred-year history of growing and using hemp for all kinds of purposes.
Among many things, these included clothes, lassos, bowstrings, animal feed, seed oil, and shoes.
But then hemp production stopped. Why? Because hemp was caught in the crossfire between authorities and marijuana. So, what is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Hemp vs Marijuana
If you were to look at marijuana and hemp flowers side by side, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. That’s because both come from the cannabis plant, and the real difference between the two is chemical.
The reason why marijuana is generally seen as a drug of abuse is due to a chemical that’s found in it called THC. THC is a cannabinoid and can stimulate cannabinoid receptors in the brain leading to addiction.
Generally, hemp flowers have a THC concentration of less than 1%, which makes them safe and eliminates the risk of addiction and abuse.
Unfortunately, because marijuana and hemp look virtually the same, many farmers in Chile would actually deal in marijuana under the pretense of growing and selling hemp. This led to the authorities sealing hemp plantations altogether.
Is hemp legal in Chile?
In 2014, Chile took a surprising step and decided to plant cannabis under government supervision. The intended use was to extract oil for treating cancer pain.
Subsequently, in 2015, Chilean lawmakers passed a bill decriminalizing marijuana, and by extension, hemp. Under the new bill, people would be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants at home for medical, recreational, and spiritual purposes.
But decriminalizing hemp flowers is not the same as legalizing them.
Currently, hemp is legal for only medicinal purposes in Chile, which means you can buy products containing hemp derivatives like CBD only if you have a medical prescription for it.
While hemp has technically been decriminalized in Chile, you can still get up to five years of prison if you’re found carrying it. The safest option is to use it inside your home.
Is buying hemp legal in Chile?
Yes, but only if you have a medical prescription.
Otherwise, your best bet to get your hands on some hemp flowers is to order them online.
Most companies package and ship hemp discreetly, so you should have no problems in receiving your order. But keep in mind, the possibility of your order being confiscated at the border always exists!
Can you grow hemp in Chile?
Chile produces around 40% of South America’s industrial hemp. Given its environmental conditions, it’s an ideal place for growing hemp flowers.
Growing industrial hemp flowers in Chile is completely legal. You can grow industrial hemp anywhere in Chile — there are no rules that place restrictions on the location of hemp plantations.
But of course, make sure you grow hemp with a THC concentration of less than 1%. Anything more than that could be considered as marijuana and land in trouble!