Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos is legalizing the cultivation and sale of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes.
Santos says the decree issued Tuesday puts Colombia at the vanguard of a new approach to reducing the harmful health effects of drug use.
Colombia joins countries from Mexico to Chile that have experimented with legalization or decriminalization as part of a wave of changing attitudes toward drug use and policies to combat it in Latin America.
Colombia has long been identified with U.S.-backed policies to eradicate narcotics production and a sharp decline in levels of violence over the past 15 years is largely attributed to the no-tolerance policing.
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