After several months of deliberations, the Colombian Senate finally formally approved the passage of a bill for the national legalization of cannabis. During the last reading of the draft, 56 of the 59 members of the Senate voted in favor of it. Now this bill must be considered and approved by the lower house of the national parliament. Considering the nature of the bill as an amendment to the republic's constitution, it can be assumed that the process of its discussion and finalization in the lower house of the country's parliament will also take several months.
Officially, the reform project, authored by MP Juan Carlos Losada, proposes to change the country's constitution, inscribing in it provisions that guarantee citizens not only the freedom to change consciousness, but also direct guarantees for the protection of the production and use of cannabis by the laws of the country. If the bill is approved by the lower house of parliament and the president of the republic, then the country's parliament will have another 6 months to work out all the details of the legal market system legislation and organize its work.
Formally, the bill will allow the free use of cannabis in all places where tobacco smoking is allowed. Accordingly, the consumption of the plant and related products will be limited and punishable by administrative fines only in the area of various public and educational institutions. The law will also introduce an age limit on the use, production and storage of the plant and its components in order to protect underage citizens (that is, all persons under the age of 21) from getting acquainted with the drug. Finally, the law also provides for the allocation of part of the proceeds from the taxation of the legal cannabis market to the budget for the organization of educational campaigns that warn all categories and groups of citizens about the possible risks of excessive cannabis use.
In favor of adopting the reform project, the Minister of Justice of the country, Néstor Osuna, and the President of the Republic, Gustavo Petro, who, among other things, addressed the UN a few months ago calling for global support for canna reforms in other countries of the world. Last month, Mr. Petro visited Mexico where he met with the President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with whom they discussed the topic of canna reform in their countries, as well as the possibility of spreading the successful experience of legalization to other countries in the region.