Peru never criminalised consumption of the coca leaf . A state-controlled licensing system is used for the cultivation and distribution of the leaf. Peruvian drug control legislation concerns all other drugs.
Whilst possession for personal use has not been declared punishable, the law does not establish precise criteria for police action leaving room for police discretion. This often results is cases of corruption and the abuse of persons who possess drugs merely for their own use. Drug decriminalisation as a topic emerged during the recent presidential election campaigns, but the winner quickly backed down from his support for a drug debate, after media and political pressure.
However, there seems to be a divide between policy and what police actually practice. Those found with small quantities of cannabis are often held in detention for long periods of time until police are sure that they are not trafficking, essentially resulting in imprisonment without charge. One third of ~12,000 inmates incarcerated for drug offences have not been formally charged with a crime.
1981 – 1982 – Decree 122 states that dependent users would no longer be punished for possession of drugs for immediate personal use, on the condition that medical certification can be provided in order to prove dependency. Offences such as the cultivation or distribution of small amounts result in imprisonment of a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 10 years
1991 – Criminal Code maintains high levels of repression and stiff penalties for certain drug-related offences. Whilst possession of small amounts for personal consumption was not to be punished, even the lowest level of trade would be met with high sentences.
2003 – Modifications to the Criminal Code increased certain prison sentences and lowered the levels of permissible quantities for trade and production.