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Colombia: Countdown to Legal Medical Marijuana

Bill Weinberg

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In an interview with BBC Mundo earlier this month, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos said he was ready to issue a decree legalizing medical marijuana and would act within a matter of days.

"It is now scientifically proven that marijuana has a variety of medicinal attributes," he said. "There is great demand, and there are companies in Canada and the United States that are utilizing marijuana for a variety of therapeutic and medicinal treatments."

He said the decree would provide a regulatory framework for production, distribution and commercialization of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Santos has yet to follow through on his pledge, but the general trajectory in Colombia has been towards liberalization.

As the country that has probably suffered the most from drug-related violence, Colombia is now pursuing a more tolerant stance as it simultaneously seeks a peace accord with leftist guerillas. Current policy allows possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis and cultivation of up to 20 plants for personal use.

Lawmakers have launched a push to further decriminalize cannabis and coca leaf alike.

(Photo Courtesy of Demotix.com)

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