By Jason Shams
Oregon Cannabis Connection
Colombian President Juan Manual Santos will soon sign a law that will legalize medicinal marijuana within the country. The new policy will allow the cultivation, processing and sale of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes.
Justice Minister Yesid Reyes announced the new policy on Thursday, November 12th in an interview with a Colombian radio station. The new law will allow and regulate everything from licensing of growers to the eventual export of products made from marijuana. Colombia is already the largest exporter of cocaine to the United States, and home to a number of potent strains of marijuana. Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria stated in an interview with Blu Radio that he hopes to see Colombia become a major exporter of marijuana products, with investors and businesses already showing interest in the country’s marijuana sector.
Colombia is the latest in a wave of over ten South American countries now legalizing marijuana. Colombia, however, has been a long time American ally in the “war on drugs”, a federal government military and prohibition campaign that has been underway since the early 1970s.
Sen. Juan Manuel Galan introduced legislation for legalizing medical marijuana earlier this year, arguing that up to 400,000 Colombians with ailments, such as epilepsy and cancer, will benefit from the new law. While the policy had earlier been met with resistance amongst conservatives in the executive and legislative branches, the new developments have been seen as a weakening of the conservative faction of the Colombian government.
For two decades Colombians have been allowed to possess narcotics in small amounts for the “free development of one’s personality”, but the use of marijuana will be legal solely for medical and scientific purposes, and Reyes made it clear that “nobody is talking about legalizing except for those two purposes”.
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