International Effort To Reform Drug Policies In Colombia & Mexico, Presidents Announce Bilateral Agenda

President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently met to discuss geopolitical, commercial, cultural and cooperation issues for the development of both countries.

Both leaders expressed the political will to build an institutional framework to be strengthened through a common agenda.

They committed to coordinating through their Foreign Ministries' compliance with the actions on a bilateral agenda under four principles: sovereignty, integration, development, and migration, according to an official statement.

Drug Policies Is On The Agenda

Petro and López Obrador announced that they will meet other Latin American leaders at an international conference focused on redesigning and rethinking drug policy given the failure of prohibition.

“Recognizing the failure of the fight against drugs and the vulnerability of our peoples in the face of this problem, Mexico and Colombia will convene an International Conference of Latin American leaders with the objective of redesigning and rethinking drug policy,” reads a joint statement following Petro’s visit to Mexico last week.

This will involve working with the broader international community to forge a new path on the drug policy front, a topic that Petro often discussed since taking office as the first leftist president in the history of Colombia.

The reference to the failed drug war indicates that international discussions will largely focus on moving away from the criminalization of drugs.

International cooperation as a way to move away from drug war policies is important, “given the levels of violence that the current policy has unleashed, especially in the American continent,” says Petro. 

Anti-Drug Policy Is A Public Health Policy Issue

According to Petro, the current anti-drug policy "does not contemplate that it is a problem of public health policies, and leaves aside figures for the demand for narcotics, which give one to think: more than 30 million consumers in the United States; more than 80 million in Europe; more than 110 million people, which should lead to the conclusion that we are not dealing with a crime and this problem cannot be criminalized in the developed world.”

He added that the way to deal with the issue, now an epidemic, is social. 

In his first speech before the United Nations (UN), Petro denounced the failure of the war on drugs saying: "I come from one of the most beautiful countries on earth (...) I come from a country of bloody beauty. It is not only beautiful but there is also violence there (…) I demand from here, from my wounded Latin America, to end the irrational War on Drugs.”

Working To Advance Cannabis Legalization

In October, after the Colombian House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis, a U.S. congressional delegation comprised of Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) visited Colombia.

“Colombia is undergoing a historic moment that has the power to transform the South America region and impact the global economy,” said Blumenauer, who co-chairs the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. After advancing in the Chamber of Representatives, a bill to legalize cannabis in Colombia was approved last week for the first time in a Senate committee. Now the bill will go to the plenary session of the Senate.

Meanwhile, cannabis has been banned in Mexico for decades. In 2018, the Mexican Supreme Court overturned the ban, at least for personal use. The ruling was general and did not specifically create a framework for legalization involving possession and cultivation limits or a regulated industry.

Get your daily dose of cannabis news on Benzinga Cannabis. Don’t miss out on any important developments in the industry.

Photo: Courtesy Of Joel Muniz On Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentLatin AmericaNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralColombiaMexicoPresident Andrés Manuel López ObradorPresident Gustavo PetroRep. Earl BlumenauerWar on Drugs
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