Global consensus on drug policy needed, Santos stresses

President Santos participating in the forum "The Drug Dilemma " in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo: President's Office)

Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday called on world leaders to heighten international cooperation on drug use and trafficking.

Santos is currently attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where he highlighted the difficulties that are posed by the current status of drug policy.

Speaking on  ‘The Drug Dilemma: Implications for society, policy and business’ Santos stated that “we have to address this issue at the international level, because otherwise, we will only move from one position to another.”

The Forum, which includes notable diplomats such as former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, heard Santos say that the recent legalization of marijuana in certain US States makes it hard for Colombia to repress the cultivation of illicit drugs.

“How can I tell the farmer who grows marijuana in the mountains of Colombia he will go to jail for doing so, when smoking marijuana is legal in the states of Colorado and Washington,” Santos asked rhetorically.

This paradox is one of the many problems that world leaders must approach when dealing with drug policy, Santos said.

Colombia’s President is trying to urge policy makers to move away from traditional conceptions of drug policy, claiming “that the traditional policy of repression, promoted by the United States, had not yielded the expected results against drug trafficking.”

Santos is one of the leading figures promoting a shakeup of current international drug policy. He and the presidents of Guatemala and Mexico, have successfully managed to bring forward the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs to 2016 from 2019.

The president on numerous occasions has called on world leaders to debate the vices and virtues of drug policies.

Colombia is one of the world’s largest cocaine producers. The drug trade has fueled an armed conflict in the country that has killed hundreds of thousands over the past 60 years.


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