November 12, 2015 - 21:55:07 GMT

Colombia to legalize commercial sale of medical marijuana

Colombia to legalize commercial sale of medical marijuana

BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombia's government plans to legalize the cultivation and sale of marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes, officials said Thursday in a surprise shift by the longtime U.S. ally in the war on drugs.

The change is coming in an executive decree that President Juan Manuel Santos will soon sign into law. It will regulate regulating everything from licensing for growers to the eventual export of products made from marijuana, Justice Minister Yesid Reyes said.

With the new policy, 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. But unlike many of its neighbors, Colombia has long been identified with U.S.-backed policies to eradicate drug production and a sharp decline in levels of violence over the past 15 years is largely attributed to the no-tolerance policing.

Sen. Juan Manuel Galan, who last year introduced legislation that tracks with the government's decree, said that as many as 400,000 Colombians suffering from epilepsy and other ailments could benefit from the clearer regulatory framework to be provided by the decree.

Colombians for two decades have been allowed to possess small quantities of any narcotic for personal use thanks to a series of Constitutional Court rulings guaranteeing the free development of one's personality.

But the congress and the executive branch have been loath to endorse such views, in part because of officials' skittishness about showing any weakness in a country that is the biggest supplier of cocaine to the U.S.

Indeed, conservative critics in Colombia and abroad see Santos' drive to reform drug policy, including a decision earlier this year to end a two-decade-old campaign of spraying illegal coca crops with herbicides, as a sign that the government's resolve is weakening.

Reflecting those concerns, officials went to great lengths Thursday to explain that they are not looking to further liberalize recreational use of marijuana as was recently done in Uruguay, the region's pioneer in drug policy reform.

Nobody is talking about legalizing anything except for these two purposes, Reyes said.

Colombia gained international fame since the 1970s as a producer of potent pot strains such as Santa Marta Gold. Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria told Blu Radio that he envisions Colombia positioned as a major global player in the booming market for marijuana products.

Our phones are ringing off the hook as we get ready for the next chapter, said a statement from John Campo, president of the parent of the U.S.-owned Sannabis company, which is developing cannabis-based oils, creams and other products on a self-governed indigenous reservation in southern Colombia.

Joshua Goodman on Twitter: . His work can be found at .

Associated Press writer Cesar Garcia contributed to this report.

< health      < BOGOTA, Colombia     
  Related News:

Mon, 16 Nov 2015 05:52:36 GMT

Colombia Plans To Legalize Sale Of Medical Marijuana Under Presidential Decree  -  Tech Times
However, the government reminded the public that the legalizing of medical marijuana does not mean that using the plant to produce recreational or commercial purposes is allowed. "Nobody is talking about legalizing anything except for these two ...
Fri, 13 Nov 2015 22:59:02 GMT

Colombia Plans To Legalize Medical Marijuana Under Presidential Decree  -  Times Gazette
On Friday, Colombia said it intends to legalize medical marijuana in a further shift in drug policy after suspending aerial fumigation of illegal crops. Growing, dispersing and selling marijuana will still be illegal. The South American country ...
Fri, 13 Nov 2015 14:11:04 GMT

US Drug War Ally Colombia Will Legalize Medicinal Marijuana  -  Latin America News Dispatch
Top Story — On Thursday, Colombia's government announced it will legalize the commercial sale of marijuana for medical and scientific use, The Associated Press reported. The upcoming decree by President Juan Manuel Santos will provide for every step ...
Mon, 30 May 2016
Memorial Day, Memorial Day parade
Sun, 29 May 2016
Indy 500, Alexander Rossi, Indianapolis 500, Indy 500 Results, Indy 500 Winners, Indy 500 Start
Sat, 28 May 2016
Real Madrid, Champions League, Real Madrid vs Atletico, UEFA Champions League, Sergio Ramos
Fri, 27 May 2016
Cleveland Cavaliers, Cavs, LeBron James, Cavaliers, Raptors, Cavs Raptors, Toronto Raptors, Cavs Score, NBA Finals,
Thu, 26 May 2016
Gucci Mane, Gucci Mane Released, Gucci, Gucci Mane Free
Wed, 25 May 2016
Frankie Manning, Tampa Bay Lightning, Penguins, Lightning
Tue, 24 May 2016
Rosario Castellanos, Andrea Constand
Mon, 23 May 2016
Beauty and the Beast, Emma Watson, Beauty and the Beast trailer, Emma Watson Belle
Sun, 22 May 2016
Billboard Music Awards 2016, Celine Dion, Billboard Music Awards, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Kesha, DNCE,
Sat, 21 May 2016
Manchester United, FA Cup, FA Cup final, Manchester United vs Crystal Palace, Crystal Palace, Jose