New Commission in Colombia Considers Decriminalizing Synthetic Drug Use
A new commission known as the Comisión Asesora de Política de Drogas (Drug Policy Advisory Commission) convened on Tuesday for the first time, tasked with reviewing Colombia’s drug policy and issuing recommendations for a new National Drug Statute. Colombian Justice Minister Ruth Stella Correa leads the commission—composed of former President César Gaviria, academics and topical experts—and announced on Tuesday evening that they would weigh a new proposal to decriminalize the personal consumption of synthetic drugs such as ecstasy.
While current Colombian law bans cocaine and marijuana, the country’s Constitutional Court has spoken out against the criminalization of their usage. Correa noted that the new National Drug Statute, which will be presented to Congress upon its completion, “will make the [Constitutional Court’s] authorization concrete, but broaden it to include synthetic drugs into what is defined as the personal dose.”
This legislative push has been a priority of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who sparked controversy over a year ago in calling on the world’s governments to reassess its global drug enforcement policies, and reiterated this stance during last April’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena and again at last week’s Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States—CELAC) meeting in Santiago, Chile. An increasing number of Colombians have been calling for this policy shift as a measure to combat drug trafficking and illicit use. But critics believe that decriminalization will complicate the debate on drug policy even further.
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