Several weeks after making progress in Colombia’s House of Representatives, a bill to legalize marijuana has finally made it out of a Senate committee with favorable recommendations.
The reform plan, which would change the country’s Constitution to eliminate cannabis prohibition for adults, has been discussed by lawmakers on multiple occasions over the past few weeks.
It was approved by a vote of 11-4 in the Senate’s First Committee; nevertheless, it must go through additional committee and floor votes before it can become law.
Justice Minister Néstor Osuna testified before a Senate subcommittee, claiming that Colombia has been the victim of “a failed war that was designed 50 years ago and, due to absurd prohibitionism, has brought us a lot of blood, armed conflict, mafias and crime.”
“The national government supports this draft legislative act for the adult use of cannabis,” he said. “We believe that it is very important that this step be taken towards a responsible market—a responsible regulation that allows us to overcome this prohibitionist atmosphere.”
The measure states that it would protect “the right of the free development of the personality,” giving people the choice to choose whether or not to use cannabis within a legally enforceable framework. As an added bonus, it would reduce “arbitrary discriminatory or uneven treatment in front of the populace that consumes.”
Possession and use in public places like schools and parks will be limited as a result of this legislation. It also stresses the need for treatment for substance abuse and public awareness initiatives.