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Colombia to Enact Drug Decriminalization


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#1 notsofasteddie

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 03:27 AM

Colombia to Enact Drug Decriminalization


by Phillip Smith,
March 13, 2012

The government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is preparing legislation that will set "personal dose" amounts for drugs that will allow for their possession without the possibility of arrest or prosecution, the Bogota newspaper El Tiempo reported Tuesday. The decriminalization legislation could be presented as early this week, the newspaper said in its exclusive report.

Colombia was the first Latin American country to decriminalize drug possession after a ruling by its Constitutional Court in 1994. But during the presidency Santos' predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, the government amended the constitution to criminalize drug use, effectively re-criminalizing drug possession.

Last year, the Colombian Supreme Court threw out Uribe's changes, ruling that the possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use was a constitutional right. This pending legislation recognizes last year's ruling and actualizes it by setting the "personal dose" amounts.

The 56-page document seen by El Tiempo sets the "personal dose" amount at five grams for marijuana and one gram for cocaine. It also sets "personal dose" amounts of 200 milligrams, or three pills, for amphetamine-type stimulants, such as methamphetamine and MDMA.

The five gram limit for marijuana is only one quarter the amount originally decriminalized, and has led some in Colombia to worry that it is too low.

"More consumers, for example, a young man traveling to a farm who carries more than five grams (hardly more than three or four joints) could be prosecuted as drug traffickers," warned Julian Quintero, director of Social Action, a group that works with young drug users.

The move by the Santos government comes as Santos prepares to lead a discussion on drug legalization and other alternatives to prohibition at the forthcoming Summit of the Americas in Cartagena next month. Pressure for serious discussions of legalization and its alternatives has been building in the region in recent weeks.


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#2 notsofasteddie

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 06:24 AM

Colombia Bill Would Decriminalize Drug Plant Cultivation

by Phillip Smith,
March 31, 2012


A bill before the Colombian congress would decriminalize the cultivation of coca and marijuana in a bid to drive down raw drug prices and encourage peasant farmers to grow other crops. The bill is expected to be debated in the congress in coming days.

Colombia and Peru are the world's largest coca (and cocaine) producers, with Bolivia in third place. In both Peru and Bolivia, national laws allow for some legal coca cultivation, although illicit cultivation also occurs. There is no legal coca cultivation in Colombia, where the government and the United States have spent billions of dollars trying to eradicate coca crops.

Introduced by Liberal Party Congressman Hugo Velasquez and cosponsored by seven other solons, the bill would eliminate the threat of prison for illicit crop production.

"Let's see how well the laws of the market work," said Velasquez, who represented the coca-growing province of Meta. "If there's excessive production due to the lack of criminal penalties, surely the market will depress the price. We have to tell the United States and other consumers that Colombia has already paid enough, mostly in blood", he added in remarks reported by the BBC. "It hasn't worked. It's time to change the strategy."

But the government of President Juan Manuel Santos, who in recent months has frequently called for debate on alternatives to drug prohibition, has signaled that it opposes the bill. Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra said such a bill would violate international drug treaties.

"We have to be particularly prudent and careful," he said.

The bill is unlikely to pass, but should help focus the attention of hemispheric leaders heading to Colombia in April for the OAS Summit of the Americas. Drug policy reform has been a hot topic in the region this year, and the bill will help keep it in the news.


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#3 Texican

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:14 PM

So if say you went for a trip to La Playa Santa Marta for a short holiday in the sun you would not potentially end up in heaps of trouble if it were a gram or under of coca and just under 5 grams of da kine? I am sure every situation is different. But just say you scored from a bar keep or Hotel employee at your resort you would be good as well as use modestly and in private?

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