Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree today to legalize medical cannabis, a plan that his justice minister announced last month.
“Our goal is for patients to be able to access medications made in Colombia that are safe, high-quality and accessible. It is also an opportunity to promote scientific research in our country,” Santos said, according to AFP.
Specifics on how medical cannabis will be regulated and distributed will follow in 2016.
Below published on November 17 with the headline, Signs of Cannabis Shift in Colombia Began Years Ago
On November 12, Colombia’s Justice Minister Yesid Reyes said that President Juan Manuel Santos will sign an executive decree to allow cannabis cultivation for medical use. The specifics of the plan are not known yet, but the policy shift is not a surprise.
Long before the recent court rulings in Mexico on medical and personal use cannabis, before Uruguay legalized cannabis, and before countries like Australia pushed ahead on medical cannabis, Juan Manuel Santos was particularly vocal on the international scene about calling for a change to policies that shape the drug war.
In 2011, Santos said he would support legalization, but added, “What I won’t do is become the vanguard of that movement because then I will be crucified.” Then, in 2012, at the UN General Assembly in New York City, Santos joined then president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, and then president of Guatamala, Otto Perez Molina, to release a joint declaration on drugs: “That the United Nations should exercise it’s [sic] leadership, as is it’s [sic] mandate, in this effort and conduct deep reflection to analyze all available options, including regulatory or market measures, in order to establish a new paradigm that prevents the flow of resources to organized crime organizations.”
Photo by Center for American Progress