By André Gomes for Talking Drugs. While talk of drug policy reform grows in Latin America, Guatemala’s new president has emphasized “zero tolerance” policy in a sharp U-turn on the rhetoric espoused by his predecessor.

Latin America has been at the forefront of global discussions on drug policy reform in recent years, with heads of state openly dissenting against the US-led “war on drugs” in 2012 and countries beginning to experiment with regulated markets for both recreational and medicinal cannabis.

Among the most vocal proponents of a turn away from punitive drug laws was the former Guatemalan president, Otto Perez Molina. Writing in the Guardian in 2012, Perez explicitly called for the regulation of global drug markers, advocating a public health approach to drug use, and hinted that the country could legalize cannabis in 2015.

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