Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree on Tuesday legalizing the growing and sale of marijuana for medical purposes. This is a big step for Colombia, but as Santos says, is also “long overdue” given that Colombians have been consuming marijuana and marijuana-based products in a legal void for years. Before this legalization, medical marijuana had fallen into a legal gray area in Colombia. It was authorized under a 1986 law, but the lack of regulation prevented production on a national level. Regulation is what they are bringing to the table today.

From the presidential palace, Santos said, “This decree allows licenses to be granted for the possession of seeds, cannabis plants and marijuana”. He goes on to talk about how this legalization places Colombia at the forefront in the use of natural resources to fight disease.

Colombia is not alone in Latin America, as it joins a variety of countries from Mexico to Chile in legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana. This is all a part of a wave of changing attitudes about the drug use and policies all over the world.

Colombia has been known to have a no-tolerance policy when it came to narcotics production and a sharp decline in levels of violence over the past 15 years can be directly attributed to its war on drugs. Santos makes it clear that the recent legalization does not go against Colombia’s international commitments on drug control by any means, and will actually help to create a clearer framework.

Under this decree, growers will be able to apply for licenses from the National Narcotics Council and those who seek to manufacture marijuana-based drugs have the ability to apply for permits from the health ministry. All of this combined allows patients in Colombia to access medications that are safe, reliable, high quality and accessible.

In conjunction with regulating these new laws, Colombia will still work hard to combat drug trafficking, as it still remains a top producer of illegal drugs, particularly cocaine.

Colombia Legalizes Medical Marijuana