Vargas said, “On the topic of drug legalization [Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos] has been very clear: Colombia will not lead, nor push, an individual initiative on the matter. The topic will continue as an academic debate until the international community decides otherwise.”
The minister’s comments come after Tuesday’s announcement that Santos will initiate legislation to allow the possession of smal quantities of drugs for personal use, following a similar Colombian Supreme Court ruling.
Vargas said individual action on Colombia’s part would interfere with its fight against drug trafficking. “The President has said we will not pursue any individual action that weakens the efforts of security forces and the Colombian state to disrupt drug cartels and combat drug production, commercialization, and exportation,” said the minister.
Last week the US announced that will discuss drug legalization in a multilateral setting for the first time at the upcoming Summit of the Americas (SOA) in Colombia next April.
Santos welcomed the announcement but said he wished to discuss options, not press for drug legalization, at the upcoming SOA.
“Let me explain: Where will we be in 20 years? If we become more strict, as in put every drug consumer in the world in jail, what will happen? If we go to the other extreme, legalization, what will happen? What will it cost? What are the repercussions or implications? And if we go the middle way — decriminalize drug consumption but pursue drug traffickers, how will we do that?” said Santos in a presidential press release Tuesday.