Colombia’s legislature will soon consider a bill to legalize recreational marijuana for adults. The proposed law is being filed by Gustavo Bolivar, a senator belonging to the Colombia Humana Party, one of the many opposition parties in the country.
The mover of the bill sees the law as a way to curb crime and support a drug policy shift to a direction in which drugs are looked at as public health concerns rather than as matters of law enforcement.
Bolivar has authored several books on drug trafficking and he sees the new bill as something that will facilitate “regularization and not legalization” of adult-use marijuana. In this law, marijuana would be regulated in the same way that tobacco and alcohol are regulated. There would be stiff penalties imposed on those who sell marijuana to minors, and marijuana smoking would be outlawed in public spaces.
The opposition senator referred to Canada, Uruguay and several states in the U.S. where recreational marijuana is legal as examples of jurisdictions where Colombia can learn as it drafts its own law to end prohibition.
The experience in those jurisdictions shows that drug-related crime levels reduce once marijuana is legalized, he added.
Sen. Alberto Castilla Salazar, another opposition senator who heads a leftist coalition, also revealed that he supports the bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Salazar insists that the country should end prohibition in order to break the control that criminal gangs have had over marijuana in favor of government control and regulation.
Former President Juan Manuel Santos has also expressed his support for the legalization of recreational marijuana. His Liberal Party may be instrumental in determining the success of the proposed law since the way party members vote may tilt the vote one way or the other.
While center-left and leftist members of the legislature appear to be united in support of the policy measure to legalize recreational marijuana, the move will go head to head with President Ivan Duque. Last year, the president signed a decree outlawing low-level possession of cocaine and marijuana. He took this step despite court rulings that such possession was legal.
However, the president’s party only has a minority of senators in the legislature, and some of them support the legalization effort. It therefore remains to be seen how many of his party members support his position of continuing marijuana prohibition.
Industry analysts are of the view that companies like ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) and Earth Science Tech Inc. (OTCQB: ETST) see these winds of change in different countries as inevitable since more is being learned about the benefits of marijuana.
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