Legalization Moves A Step Closer In Colombia

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Colombia has served in many ways as ‘ground zero’ for the war on drugs over several decades, and while cocaine was largely the focus of eradication and enforcement efforts, cannabis has played a significant role in the South American country as well.

Infamous cannabis smugglers in the 1970s, such as Robert Platshorn, would purchase cannabis by the ton in Colombia and smuggle it back to the United States where the ‘Colombian Red’ and other well-known strains would then make their way around North America.

Colombia, along with every other nation in South America, has explored reforming its cannabis laws with a new focus in recent years after Uruguay became the first country on earth to pass a nationwide adult-use cannabis legalization measure. Uruguay initially passed the measure in 2013, however, legal sales would not launch until a handful of years later.

By virtually every measure, cannabis legalization is working in Uruguay. And just as it is working in Uruguay, so too could it work in Colombia. Fortunately for sensible cannabis policy, legalization moved one step closer to becoming reality in Colombia this week, with Senators voting to advance a legalization measure. Per Marijuana Moment:

A bill to legalize marijuana in Colombia has been approved in a Senate committee for the first time, weeks after it also advanced in the country’s Chamber of Representatives.

Lawmakers have met several times in recent weeks to debate the reform proposal, which would amend the country’s Constitution to end cannabis prohibition for adults.

It passed the First Committee of the Senate on Tuesday by a vote of 11-4, though there are still more legislative steps that must be taken before it’s potentially enacted into law.

It’s absolutely worth noting that just because there is support for a legalization measure in general among lawmakers, and even though a measure is working its way through the political process, nothing is guaranteed. Mexico is a great example of that.

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled years ago that cannabis prohibition as it pertained to individuals was unconstitutional. Lawmakers were tasked with passing a legalization measure and standing up a regulated industry, which has failed to happen so far. Hopefully we don’t see legalization stall in a similar fashion in Colombia and legalization continues to move forward without delay.

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