Santos Open to Medical Marijuana: Drug War Needs “New Focus”
Español In a major coup for drug-policy reformers, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has expressed support for the proposed legalization of marijuana for therapeutic and medical usage, an initiative led by Senator Juan Manuel Galán.
Galán, a member of the Colombian Liberal Party, has proposed the change to allow the treatment of pain and anxiety of patients in the terminal state of their illnesses. Galán is also the son of the late Liberal Party politician Luis Carlos Galán Sarmiento, who was assassinated by the Medellin drug cartel in 1989.
In the midst of a forum on policies related to illegal substances and drugs in the country, Santos backed Galán’s project and said “It’s a way to stop criminals from acting as intermediaries between the patient and a substance that is going to ease their suffering.”
Santos also stated that the drug war needs a “new focus,” no longer plagued with “political and ideological prejudices” among the international community. Colombia has fought a battle against drugs for decades, yet the drug trade has provided Marxist guerrilla with a lucrative source of funds and fueled the internal armed conflict.
There may, however, be change on the horizon for the South American country. If this new regulation is approved, Colombia would edge towards the path of Uruguay and some US states that have legalized marijuana outright.
Experts at the forum insisted on a wait-and-see approach, since they will need to assess support among Colombians before legislation will gain passage. The likely maximum one could possess for “personal consumption,” however, would consist of 20 grams per person.