Jul 12, 2016 9:00 AM

Colombia Legalizes Medical Cannabis

Over the last decades, Colombia has been gradually easing its drug policy. Colombians have long been able to obtain small quantities of any type of drug without any criminal prosecution. However, there were many questions and inconsistencies in the drug laws of the country, which led to massive confusion.

In 2015, Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia, made a range of significant changes in the country’s drug policy. Santos signed a decree that legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes. The decree was then followed by Congress passing a law to legalize medical marijuana in the country.

On June 1, the medical cannabis law came into effect, providing broad opportunities for scientific and medicinal studies on marijuana properties and health effects.

Marijuana legalization had a lot of supporters among the Senators. Although at first they did not receive the majority of votes for implementing the measure, they kept pushing the matter for the sake of the Colombian citizens. This attempt to push forward the measure failed due to the absence of many representatives during the voting window. One of the legalization supporters, Senator Juan Manuel Galan, called on his colleagues to fulfill their civic duties, and after the second attempt, the legalization measure was finally accepted by 83 affirmative votes out of the possible 86.

President Santos has technically decreed cannabis legalization, but the Constitutional Court of Colombia will officially replace the decree with the law only after review. After the final revision, Colombia is going to be the fourth South American country to legalize medical cannabis.

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