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Colombia: new National Police chief broaches legalization

Posted on May 9th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Colombia Gen. José Roberto León, number-two man in Colombia's militarized National Police force, has been fingered to be the force's new chief starting next week. Upon his appointment, he issued a stern warning to drug traffickers: "The National Police is out there, using all its capacities to capture or neutralize you." But León also stated that he agreed with President Juan Manuel Santos' position on drug legalization: "My position is the same as President Santos. The Colombian government has the moral authority to open the debate and, as indicated by [Santos], it is necessary to review the entire anti-drug strategy to explore new ideas and strategies enabling greater effectiveness in the fight against drug trafficking. Another point is that people who are addicted to drugs, especially marijuana, should receive medical treatment, so the issue becomes a matter of public health." (Colombia Reports, May 7) (Sic: cannabis, of course, is not addictive.)

President Santos has broached the possibility of legalization, but has not thrown his support behind a pending bill to decriminalize cultivation of coca leaf and cannabis. Last year, Colombia's highest court rejected a 2009 constitutional amendment pushed through by then-president Álvaro Uribe that had overturned a 1994 court decision decriminalizing personal quantities of illegal drugs. Santos is supporting a bill that would set "personal dose" quantities for illegal drugs, allowing possession without arrest or prosecution. (Drug War Chronicle, March 13)

 

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