Colombia’s Conservative Party has voiced its support for a pending Liberal Party bill that seeks to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill had already received support from President Juan Manuel Santos.
Conservatives go green
Senator Hernan Andrade, the faction’s spokesman, said the Conservatives will support the bill because “the project as it stands is viable, necessary and harmless. This project deserves our legislative support,” he told Caracol Radio on Thursday.
Andrade stressed that the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes can not be seen as a step to the general legalization of the country’s most widely used illicit drug.
Party president Omar Yepes told newspaper La Tarde that the party is not undivided in its faction’s surprising endorsement, but that “within the terms they have proposed the use of marijuana seems fine to me.”
According to a survey released earlier this year, 11.5% of the Colombian population admitted to having smoked marijuana at least once. The president also admitted to having smoked pot when in college.
Colombia’s most consumed illicit drugs
Santos and the War on Drugs
Colombian, joined by other Latin American countries and former US President Jimmy Carter, has been calling to rethink the US-led war on drugs since Santos came to power in 2010.
During his first term, Santos retracted legislation pushed through Congress by his predecessor, former President Alvaro Uribe, that penalized the carrying of marijuana or cocaine for personal use.
Supported by the country’s constitutional court, the current legislation impedes authorities to punish someone if caught carrying less than 20 grams of marijuana or one gram of cocaine.
Marijuana has been used to reduce nausea and vomiting of HIV / AIDS patents, and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. A number of US states and European countries have already legalized the medical use of marijuana.