A congressional delegation returned from a check out to Colombia this 7 days, and a congressman who was element of the excursion tells Cannabis Second that 1 theme of his conversations with officials in the state was that the environment has “lost the war on medicine.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who chairs the House Means & Suggests Subcommittee on Trade, said that drug coverage was a “significant part” of his discussions during the trip to Colombia— the place hashish legalization laws is actively advancing—and there was a general “recognition” that the punitive approach to prescription drugs that the U.S. exported globally has “failed.”

Colombia’s new administration beneath President Gustavo Petro has been driving an international dialogue about the require for worldwide collaboration to chart a distinct system when it arrives to drugs, and Blumenauer, who also co-chairs the Congressional Hashish Caucus, took the prospect to share a U.S. perspective on the challenge.

“The Petro administration is introducing the thought of a entire comprehensive method to addressing the drug war and its effects,” the congressman told Marijuana Second on Tuesday. Many years of criminalization has only made it so illicit drugs are “more commonly available” and more cost-effective.

“It’s had devastating repercussions for weak farmers—and it has accomplished nothing,” the congressman mentioned, incorporating that he’s inspired by Colombia’s efforts to “try and do a u-change on drug plan, going absent from a hefty-handed legislation enforcement strategy.”

Section of that effort indicates functioning to “shift the activities of bad farmers into other other crops and activities” and undertaking so “in a way that recognizes the fact on the floor and the reality that American policies have been frequented on poor Colombians to no good result.”

Blumenauer claimed that there was also dialogue about marijuana legalization, and he shared with officers the knowledge of Oregon above the previous a number of many years soon after getting the very first condition to decriminalize hashish in 1973 and then legalizing adult-use cannabis in 2014.

There was also desire in President Joe Biden’s recent go to concern a mass pardons for individuals who’ve fully commited federal cannabis possession offenses. The congressman mentioned he told Colombian officials that the motion represented a symbolic “sea alter,” even if the “direct impact” was confined to just a few thousand Individuals.

“The truth that this is the to start with proposal by this administration, or any administration, working with pardons on this scale is quite significant,” he said. “The Biden administration also termed for a reappraisal of [marijuana scheduling] and I imagine if that is accomplished everywhere close to an objective fashion, it is heading to have cascading effects.”

“I imagine what the administration is carrying out is starting off a approach that is going to speed up the perform we’ve been performing for yrs to get this out of the prison justice system—to be capable to legalize, tax, regulate and be capable to choose edge [of reform], both of those of the therapeutic and the economic positive aspects of hashish,” Blumenauer said. “And I imagine which is certainly the place Colombia is heading.”

In a press release on the congressional delegation’s journey, Blumenauer stated each international locations “share a motivation to democratic values, which we emphasized in our trade coverage conversations.”

“Now is the time to concentration on guidelines that will appropriate the wrongs of the past,” he claimed. “From the complicated war on medicines to combatting weather alter and preserving the Amazon, to comprehensive economic and social inclusion of ladies, Afro-Colombian, and Indigenous communities, there is much we can do jointly.”

A bill to legalize cannabis in Colombia attained original approval by the country’s Chamber of Reps this month, nevertheless it have to however progress through more debates ahead of probably remaining enacted into regulation.

The flooring vote arrived soon immediately after a congressional committee passed the measure, as very well as a independent legalization monthly bill that features provisions to distribute tax revenue from hashish income to individual government municipalities.

Colombia’s president, who was inaugurated in August, has mentioned the possible positive aspects of cannabis legalization, while he has not explicitly endorsed the reform proposals that are advancing but.

That stated, Cabinet officers, which include the heads of the Justice Ministry and Interior Ministry, did converse in favor of the legalization proposal in the course of the total chamber listening to this month.

For his portion, Petro explained to members of the United Nations (UN) late final month that “democracy will die” if world-wide powers never unite to conclusion the drug war and go after a different technique, with thousands and thousands of lives on the line beneath the latest regime.

The president explained in a different job interview previous month that the US and other nations around the world will allow a “genocide” of avoidable overdose fatalities if leaders manage the position quo of criminalization.

He also a short while ago talked about the prospective clients of legalizing marijuana in Colombia as one particular signifies of lowering the influence of the illicit market place. And he signaled that the coverage modify should really be adopted by releasing men and women who are at the moment in prison over cannabis.

He spoke about the economic opportunity of a authorized hashish business, just one exactly where small cities in locations like the Andes, Corinto and Miranda could stand to advantage from authorized cannabis cultivation, perhaps without any licensing requirements.

The president additionally signaled that he’d be fascinated in exploring the idea of ​​exporting cannabis to other international locations the place the plant is lawful.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), who chairs the Dwelling Principles Committee, cheered the official swearing in of Petro, expressing that he appears to be like ahead to “working with each other to…rethink drug policy, and a lot additional.”

Biden, meanwhile, recently introduced a memorandum to the defense secretary that authorizes the “interdiction of aircraft reasonably suspected to be generally engaged in illicit drug trafficking in that country’s airspace.”

He explained that it is “necessary since of the remarkable threat posed by illicit drug trafficking to the national stability of that country” and because “Colombia has correct treatments in spot to guard towards harmless decline of lifetime in the air and on the ground in relationship with this kind of interdiction, which includes efficient indicates to determine and alert an aircraft before the use of force is directed in opposition to the plane.”

That reported, Secretary of Point out Antony Blinken said in a joint visual appearance with Petro earlier this thirty day period that the U.S. typically backs his “holistic approach” to medicines. The Colombian president, for his part, mentioned that countries want to “view the war on medications otherwise.”

As a former member of Colombia’s M-19 guerrilla group, Petro has seen the violent conflict involving guerrilla fighters, narcoparamilitary groups and drug cartels that has been exacerbated by the government’s aggressive tactic to drug enforcement.

According to the United Nations Business of Drug Manage Coverage (ONDCP), Colombia continues to be a chief exporter of cocaine,  despite  “drug offer reduction things to do in Colombia, these kinds of as eradication of coca bush and destruction of laboratories.”

In 2020, Colombian legislators launched a monthly bill that would have controlled coca, the plant that is processed to deliver cocaine, in an acknowledgment that the government’s a long time-extensive fight against the drug and its techniques have continuously failed. That laws cleared a committee, but it was eventually shelved by the total conservative legislature.

Previous Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos has also been important of the drug war and embraced reform. In an editorial released before he left business office, he criticized the UN and U.S. President Richard Nixon for their function in location a drug war standard that has tested ineffective at ideal and counterproductive at worst.

“It is time we speak about liable govt regulation, glimpse for strategies to lower off the drug mafias’ air offer, and deal with the troubles of drug use with greater sources for prevention, care and damage reduction with regard to general public wellbeing and the social fabric ,” he stated.

“This reflection will have to be worldwide in scope in buy to be efficient,” Santos, who is a member of the professional-reform Global Commission on Drug Plan, claimed. “It will have to also be wide, which includes participation not only of governments but also of academia and civil culture. It need to arrive at further than legislation enforcement and judicial authorities and involve gurus in public health and fitness, economists and educators, among the other disciplines.”

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Image factor courtesy of Bryan Pocius.

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