Colombia appears to be the next country on its way to marijuana legalization. On Tuesday, lawmakers approved a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana all across the country, earning almost unanimous support. It’s a first step towards legalization.
The proposed ruling would set the groundwork for legal cannabis sales, ensuring that revenue is distributed across municipalities and can support issues like public health and education.
The proposal includes a breakdown of how cannabis legalization would work and impact the country. In Spanish, the bill explains several things, making it clear that the legal use of the drug is meant for people that are of age and promoting a message that echoes what Colombia’s president has been saying ever since he was elected, which is to remove the criminal aspect associated with the drug and to focus on harm reduction and public health.
“With this legislative act, we will promote strategies that benefit farming and we will implement tools to battle marijuana’s illegal trafficking, betting on public health and social growth,” reads the bill.
Over the past year, Colombia’s president, Gustavo Petro, has criticized the War on Drugs and has asked countries all over the world to rethink their stance on these substances.
“The War on Drugs has lasted 40 years. If we do not correct the course, and this continues another 40 years, the United States will see 2.8 million die of overdoses,” said Petro when addressing the United Nations. “You will see millions of African Americans be imprisoned in their private prisons.”
“I propose to you, as President of one of the most beautiful and bloodied countries on Earth, to end the War on Drugs and thus allow our people to live in peace.”
Previously, Petro had informally talked about legalizing marijuana and seeing what benefits that could provide for the country. “Let’s see if by exporting cannabis we make a few dollars because in part of the world the drug is legal,” said Petro in a translation per Noticias RCN. “Why can’t the farmers from Cauca plant cannabis?,” he said, referencing a region in Colombia known for its prolific farming.
Petro has yet to make any statements or shows of support for the bill that was approved on Tuesday.