Colombia Decriminalizes Cocaine and Pot

By McCarton Ackerman 07/03/12

Anyone caught with small amounts of cocaine or marijuana in Colombia will no longer be detained or prosecuted.

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Under 20 grams means treatment, not jail.
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Colombia's Constitutional Court has approved the government's plan to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana for personal use. Anyone caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana or one gram of cocaine may receive physical or psychological treatment, but cannot be detained or prosecuted. The decision represents a shift in direction for Colombian drug policy—and the national perception of drug users—under President Juan Manuel Santos. The ruling also represents the growing trend of a Latin American rejection of US-back drug war. The government in Uruguay is seeking to regulate and sell pot while numerous Central American leaders, including Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, also support the decriminalization of all drugs. Portugal, which decriminalized drug possession in 2001, still stands out as the model for the implementation of such policies.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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