Colombia legalizes medical cannabis

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree on December 22nd 2015 that fully legalizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Even though the medical community is supportive of this initiative, many in the security community remain concerned about the country’s problem with cocaine production. Armed rebels in Colombia that cultivate marijuana also cultivate cocaine.

Colombia has been plagued by decades of drug-related violence, and is better known as the world’s biggest producer of cocaine, along with Peru.

By legalizing medical marijuana, President Santos hopes to take away a revenue stream for illegal drug traffickers.

According to President Santos, “legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, places Colombia in the group of countries that are at the forefront … in the use of natural resources to fight disease.”

Anyone wishing to grow marijuana must now apply to the National Narcotics Council for a licence. Medical marijuana is used for medical ailments such as Crohn’s disease, seizures, HIV and nausea.

Last year, Mr Santos, who has admitted smoking cannabis while a student in Kansas in the 1970s, said legalisation would take drug production out of the hands of drug traffickers.