A invoice to legalize cannabis in Colombia has been accredited in a Senate committee for the initially time, weeks after it also sophisticated in the country’s Chamber of Associates.

Lawmakers have met numerous periods in modern weeks to discussion the reform proposal, which would amend the country’s Constitution to conclusion hashish prohibition for older people.

It handed the Initially Committee of the Senate on Tuesday by a vote of 11-4, although there are nonetheless a lot more legislative ways that must be taken in advance of it’s perhaps enacted into regulation.

“We continue on to progress in the paradigm shift on drug coverage,” Rep. Juan Carlos Losada, the bill’s sponsor, stated pursuing the vote, according to a translation.

At a general public listening to in the Senate panel on Monday, Justice Minister Néstor Osuna reported that Colombia has been the target of “a failed war that was built 50 decades back and, due to absurd prohibitionism, has brought us a ton of blood, armed conflict, mafias and criminal offense.”

“The countrywide governing administration supports this draft legislative act for the adult use of hashish,” he mentioned. “We think that it is extremely critical that this action be taken to a accountable market—a responsible regulation that enables us to conquer this prohibitionist atmosphere.”

The proposed constitutional modification contemplates the general public wellbeing and financial impacts of legalization, as effectively as the ideological principle of person autonomy. If enacted, officials would have 6 months to promulgate policies for the adult-use marketplace.

A supplementary legislative assessment presents track record on the record of cannabis policy in Colombia, though also describing reform developments in other international locations this kind of as Mexico and the United States.

The legalization invoice would aid “the correct of the free of charge advancement of the identity, making it possible for citizens to choose on the use of hashish in a regulated lawful framework,” it suggests. And it would mitigate “arbitrary discriminatory or unequal treatment in entrance of the inhabitants that consumes.”

The invoice will limit possession and public consumption at universities and selected public areas. It also phone calls for general public training strategies and the advertising of material misuse therapy companies.

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The Colombian Chamber of Representatives gave initial acceptance to a legalization bill previous thirty day period. In addition to Osuna, the head of the Inside Ministry also spoke in favor of the reform proposal at the time. That vote came soon following a congressional committee advanced this measure and a separate legalization monthly bill.

The justice minister also reviewed legislative legalization attempts at an event focused on cannabis reform on Saturday, emphasizing the need to have to enact a plan transform the promotes economic growth and community well being.

As lawmakers shift to approve the reform bill, Osuna mentioned that federal government businesses will be operating to aid a “faster, a lot less difficult” licensure method.

President Gustavo Petro, a progressive who has been strongly advocating for an international stop to drug criminalization considering that getting inaugurated in August, has reviewed the feasible positive aspects of hashish legalization.

In September, the president delivered a speech at a assembly of the United Nations (UN), urging member nations to essentially transform their approaches to drug coverage and disband with prohibition.

Petro also just lately talked about the prospective buyers of legalizing marijuana in Colombia  as 1 signifies of minimizing the affect of the illicit current market. And he signaled that the plan adjust should really be followed by releasing people who are now in jail over cannabis.

He spoke about the economic potential of a lawful cannabis market, a single where by modest cities in places like the Andes, Corinto and Miranda could stand to gain from authorized marijuana cultivation, possibly with out any licensing necessities.

The president also signaled that he’d be intrigued in discovering the thought of ​​exporting hashish to other nations around the world the place the plant is legal.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), who chairs the Property Procedures Committee, cheered the official swearing in of Petro , saying that he seems ahead to “working with each other to…rethink drug plan, and significantly much more.”

President Joe Biden, on the other hand, looks intent on perpetuating the drug war in Colombia, with U.S. navy help. He released a  memorandum to the defense secretary in August that authorizes the “interdiction of aircraft fairly suspected to be primarily engaged in illicit drug trafficking in that country’s airspace.”

He stated that it is “necessary for the reason that of the remarkable danger posed by illicit drug trafficking to the national security of that country” and since “Colombia has proper procedures in area to guard towards harmless reduction of existence in the air and on the ground in relationship with such interdiction, which features productive usually means to determine and alert an aircraft just before the use of pressure is directed towards the plane.”

That claimed, Secretary of Point out Antony Blinken explained in a joint visual appearance with Petro last thirty day period that the U.S. generally backs his “holistic approach” to medicine. The Colombian president, for his component, claimed that nations need to have to “view the war on prescription drugs differently.”

As a previous member of Colombia’s M-19 guerrilla group, Petro has witnessed the violent conflict among guerrilla fighters, narcoparamilitary teams and drug cartels that has been exacerbated by the government’s aggressive solution to drug enforcement.

In accordance to the United Nations Workplace of Drug Command Plan (ONDCP), Colombia stays a main exporter of cocaine,  despite  “drug supply reduction pursuits in Colombia, these types of as eradication of coca bush and destruction of laboratories.”

In 2020, Colombian legislators launched a invoice that would have regulated coca, the plant that is processed to make cocaine, in an acknowledgment that the government’s many years-extended struggle towards the drug and its strategies have consistently failed. That laws cleared a committee, but it was in the long run shelved by the total conservative legislature.

Advocates are optimistic that such a proposal could progress underneath the Petro administration. The president has not taken a apparent stance on the legislation itself, but he campaigned on legalizing cannabis and promoted the strategy of ​​cannabis as an substitute to cocaine.

Previous Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos has also been crucial of the drug war and embraced reform. In an editorial printed just before he remaining business, he criticized the United Nations and U.S. President Richard Nixon for their job in environment a drug war common that has verified ineffective at ideal and counterproductive at worst.

“It is time we communicate about accountable government regulation, look for means to cut off the drug mafias’ air offer, and deal with the complications of drug use with greater means for avoidance, treatment and harm reduction with regard to public health and fitness and the social fabric,” he said.

“This reflection have to be global in scope in buy to be efficient,” Santos, who is a member of the pro-reform World Commission on Drug Policy, said. “It ought to also be broad, which includes participation not only of governments but also of academia and civil culture. It should achieve further than law enforcement and judicial authorities and involve specialists in community well being, economists and educators, among the other disciplines.”

Meanwhile, a U.S. congressional delegation returned from a stop by to Colombia previous month, and a congressman who was part of the journey instructed Cannabis Instant that one topic of his discussions with officials in the country was that the globe has “lost the war on medicine.”

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Graphic aspect courtesy of Bryan Pocius.

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