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Colombia Bill Would Decriminalize Drug Plant Cultivation

A bill before the Colombian congress would decriminalize the cultivation of coca and marijuana in a bid to drive down raw drug prices and encourage peasant farmers to grow other crops. The bill is expected to be debated in the congress in coming days.

spraying herbicide on the rain forest to kill coca crops (wikimedia.org)
Colombia and Peru are the world's largest coca (and cocaine) producers, with Bolivia in third place. In both Peru and Bolivia, national laws allow for some legal coca cultivation, although illicit cultivation also occurs. There is no legal coca cultivation in Colombia, where the government and the United States have spent billions of dollars trying to eradicate coca crops.

Introduced by Liberal Party Congressman Hugo Velasquez and cosponsored by seven other solons, the bill would eliminate the threat of prison for illicit crop production.

"Let's see how well the laws of the market work," said Velasquez, who represented the coca-growing province of Meta. "If there's excessive production due to the lack of criminal penalties, surely the market will depress the price. We have to tell the United States and other consumers that Colombia has already paid enough, mostly in blood", he added in remarks reported by the BBC. "It hasn't worked. It's time to change the strategy."

But the government of President Juan Manuel Santos, who in recent months has frequently called for debate on alternatives to drug prohibition, has signaled that it opposes the bill. Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra said such a bill would violate international drug treaties.

"We have to be particularly prudent and careful," he said.

The bill is unlikely to pass, but should help focus the attention of hemispheric leaders heading to Colombia in April for the OAS Summit of the Americas. Drug policy reform has been a hot topic in the region this year, and the bill will help keep it in the news.

Bogota
Colombia
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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The sooner the world shrugs

The sooner the world shrugs off the US govt's chains disguised as a drug war the better this world will be.

wait wait wait!!

....what !!!!  just the cocoa leaf and the pot plant (the maple leaf on heroin i call it) what about the most important the POPPY? WHERES THE ACLU WHEN I NEED IT!? this is prejudice and it aint right

Actually on a serious note.

You know I was actually just gona shrug off the matter but then I got to thinking and it would be ignoring a major problem. The dude from Columbia, excuse me pero el Presidente de Colombia este una persona quien quieres un mundo con pot y la coca legal pero nada mas. Ive seen El Presidente talk about this as if the entirity of the drug war failure is due to pot and coke being illegal and it's right up there with the reformists who're in this just for pot. Look pot is going to be legal, yea it is. Good for you, but then what happens to you because people like me, people who don't care about pot, have done it and dont want any part of it, hate pot, hate pot culture etc. but are accepting of it cause of our, (FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD, TRUST ME, CAUSE IMO NOTHIN IS MORE LAMER THAN ONE OF THESE) "fraternity" - "fraternity" or prohibition. What, is that your college graduation? Legalization of pot - then youre gone and your "brothers" are left behind with a potentially rejuvenated prohibition system to fight - rejuvenated and now constantly chirping "oh! see! they got pot legal, that wasn't good enough, now they want MDMA to be legal, next it'll be coke THEN GOD FORBID HEROIN!" LOL and for me personally and i spend every single day of my life in this battle BELIEVE ME i'd have to wait for MDMA, cocaine BEFORE my prohibition problem ended? There's no way, i'd probably be long dead by then. The frightening thing is i do believe the pot people will a majority of them, abandon the drug reform movement - shoot, i can see it now, myself, having taken every single precaution in the future (the future where pot is legal) but nevertheless getting pinched on a H bust and being in the backseat of the squad car with two cops saying "dude why dont you just smoke pot, its legal now." OH MY GOD the IRONY!! You see, those who have never been in any other drug culture aside from pot, you dont know how we feel about you and what you do AND YES i AM generalizing. But the way us heroin lovers feel about chronic (NO PUN intended!!!! A-YUCK-YUCK) kroniq smokers is definitely not the kinsmanship one of those people feel with a fellow stoner. I'm sorry it's not. It's not hatred NOT AT ALL, its not jealousy, NOT EVEN CLOSE. For the most part - we donot consider you one of us - which isnt an exclusion thing or a rude thing but a mere, you dont know what this is like sorta thing. I think that as a heroin lover to a pot lover that's something we're both cool with because im sure most pot people look at us heroin lovers and then look at their J and smile with relief thinking jeez im glad this is all i need. But the thing is, all us heroin lovers, ALL, because for the most part, our illegal lives tend to intertwine at least sometimes, and surely growing up as well, we've all heard that "ah why dont you smoke pot instead dude?" well we dont because it's not even close. not even remotely close. not even. it's not something (and i would hate to say all heroin lovers, but certainly i think most) we can go back to anymore - for those of us who did at one time consider ourselves a stoner. It's not possible anymore. Yeah there are some few who do but they do it like any other heroin consumer who makes heroin sacrifices - because of prohibition. The fact is, pot isn't everybodies DOC and its not everybodies DOC for prohibition. You know, it's hard enough to fight this war on drugs from our side, right? LOL war on drugs... Side note its so funny the war on drugs has never had any enemy like a soviet, nazi enemy right? its the faceless nameless or substances...when the enemy is actually our mom, dad, brother, sister, son, daughter, best friend, cousin etc etc but shoot i call myself the worlds proudest heroin lover (who will never use words like addict, addiction and the prohibitionist vernacular and NA/AA sanctioned terminology) so shoot i guess i ought to be proud to be on the side of the drug war thats never talked about. Anyway my point is, isn't it hard enough for us - pot lovers, coke lovers, heroin enthusiasts, MDMA lovers, methheads etc. etc. to be fighting this war on prohibition against idiots like kevin sabet, the prohibitionist regime etc that we'd have to argue over which drug deserves what and which type of drug lover uses what drug?? 

 

I mean seriously - Ive done meth a few times, it's not my thing. i dont like it that much and ive been around meth lovers alot as one would figure a person in my line of lifestyle... let me tell you, some certain types of people - they behave in a way that is completely incompatible with any sort of function of society from the workplace to the general public, the consumer world etc. The only feesable place these people can dwell under that mindstate would be amongst one another or by themselves - however, by themselves may be the most dangerous... Now i'm not saying this about all meth lovers but some. Given what I have seen personally, and im sure some of you have be it on the news, TV, the net, whatever... i mean, to me, i just donot understand how a society would be able to have meth available like that but you know something, i got to tell you i would never and i will never say that yeah, heroin should be legal, PKs should be purchasable w/o prescription (all kinds) MDMA, coke etc etc etc BUT METH - NO WAY! As a heroin purveyor who has dealt with pot legalization elitism alot, i will not do that. i read an article a few months ago by someone who essentially made the case for full on legalization of all banned drugs EXCEPT meth. His reasoning wasn't even that good. He said a police chief friend of his agreed entirely with him on legalization of all things, save meth. The reason he gave was having seen a friends destruction on meth. You know, if i sat here and listed all the OD's of friends, loves, etc. man it doesn't change anything - in fact, it makes the need for legalization more important because i dont think they'd all be gone if the stuff was legal. 

 

Decriminalisation, picking and choosing which drugs are better than the other - thereby judging drug addicts. As drug lovers of all kinds, we shouldn't judge eachother - furthermore, I think we'd get a whole lot further uniting as one voice versus various camps for various causes. A decriminalization model wouldn't help all of us out  - ALL THAT MUCH. What good would cocoa LEAF legalization do for any pot, heroin or even crack lover? not too much. A brilliant article was put on this site a few months ago, made the same point im making, in my opinion, far better than i am, but, the point is, i think we would get a whole lot more accomplished united than divided and i think its a sad thing for us reformists that the dude in Colombia is being so ignorant about it because as we all know, right now, to quote the great man Ethan Nadelmann (who, however, can sometimes come off, TO ME anyway, as abit of a pot elitist... i dont appreciate the point about opiates being easy to acquire a script for and needing to be aquired that way whereby pot is cool to be bought in the free market.) "something amazing is happening right now in central america" well it's true, but the Colombian guy, i think his position isn't that great and i think his position needs to be great now more than ever.

Thinking Clearly's picture

The Drug War creates an artificial world

Putting people in jail in the United States to eradicate the demand for drugs has just the opposite effect. It instead promotes traffic in illegal drugs for large profits. This system promotes drug demand. The United States has effectively become a police Nation who incarcerates more of its population than any other major country in the world. Prisons do not rehabilitate or cure anything. They are training camps for crime. The problem grows.

The United States through International treaties has exported this War On Drugs concept to the rest of the world and made it self sustaining and lucrative. Over 40 to 50 Black Hawk helicopters or more have been ordered and sold south of the US borders at 6-10 million US dollars per helicopter. Much of the equipment including weapons returning from overseas wars are ending up at the borders. Two formerly virtually borderless Countries, the US and Canada, are now in negotiations to further secure their borders to stop the flow of drugs and weapons. The end result of all these things seem to paint a very displeasing picture. More prisons, more police, more people in jails and prisons, more weapons of war being sent abroad by America to "protect" its neighbors, more money for armies to fight drug cartels- this will not end. Making drugs and drug users criminal is turning the worlds Governments into the enemies of their own land and their own citizens into the source pool for new victims to keep it all going.

Public opinion in the United States - contrary to the wishes of its own Government has shifted to supporting the legalization of marijuana. A Government who cannot support the wishes of its own people cannot long endure. This IS the state of affairs in America today. I see it as a glimmer of hope to a suffering world, and a possible beginning to America reversing this horrible fascist approach at trying to protect its own interests at everyone else's expense.

More than legalization of marijuana

We really need to legalize all recreational drugs. I think “illegality” is one of there appealing aspects. I say recreational because I do not think we should legalize OTC antibiotics, etc. To much danger to humanity as a whole from the misuse of such pharmaceuticals. No danger from the use of any recreational drug except to the user.

And you know that the US

And you know that the US government will be sending the ambassador right over to have a talk to their leaders and remind them that WE DO NOT SUPPORT THESE IDEAS.  Of course the WE in the previous sentence is the power hungry people who would lose their nice little income if they had to actually fight real crime instead of created crime.  I am glad to see the leaders of South and Central America start to tell the US government that this is not working.

FTW do what you like!

i think it's simple, nature shouldn't be against the law. Coca leaf, i'm cool with, chemical process, is just bad!! No to cocaine, but yes to the leaf. You have a pouch of pot? a pouch of coca leaves? OK, Hell if you can eat Poppies and catch a buzz, i'm ok with. America has helped burn and blow up coca fields in Colombia for decades, and yet we have our own soldiers watch the fields in Afganistan. Hypocrisy! Good for you Colombia! Como dijo Chavez a Mexico, No seas un pero de los Estados Unidos.

quantities

It is illegal to buy, sell or consume (in public places) drugs in any quantity. However, the Ley 30 de 1986 specifies that simple possession of small quantities is legal. mary

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