Colombia’s national police seized over three tons of marijuana and arrested 15 people in the last week as a nationwide crackdown on trade in the drug continues.
The crackdown on marijuana comes amid the U.S. state of California’s referendum on decriminalizing recreational use of the narcotic plant, which drew sharp criticism from Colombian government officials. The traditionally liberal state voted Tuesday against legalization.
Colombian police chief General Oscar Naranjo criticized the proposed move, saying that the political debate was over-simplified and disregarded the effects of drugs on young people.
President Santos has stated that legalizing the drug would send the wrong message to people in Colombia who are prosecuted for cultivating the plant.
According to the Colombian government cannabis crops are concentrated in the south-west of the country, mainly in the department of Cauca, where 153 hectares have been identified as growing the plant in just three municipalities.
Since January of this year police have confiscated 193 tons of marijuana, a 38% increase on seizures in 2009.