Colombian Marijuana Legalization Bill Gaining Huge Traction
A bill to legalize recreational marijuana is making its way through the political pipeline in Colombia. According to Marijuana Moment, things are looking good. This is welcome news for an industry that grew almost overnight.
Colombian marijuana reform has kicked into high gear over the last few months. The biggest concession was when public consumption of cannabis was allowed by the courts, despite recreational cannabis being illegal.
Colombia also attracted the attention of major Canadian licensed producers, who founded subsidiaries and facilities in the country.
Then, Colombia made history when PharmaCielo Colombia S.A.S. – the Colombian subsidiary of Toronto-based PharmaCielo – sent the very first South American CBD shipment to Europe.
This follows the classic pattern of baby steps that ultimately lead to the final goal of total legalization. Based on current support, the final stretch of this journey will be short and easy.
“Regularization, Not Legalization”
The proposed bill to legalize marijuana in Colombia was put forth by Senator Gustavo Bolivar of the Humana party. Like his predecessors in other countries, his aim is to reduce crime and gain control over public health.
Marijuana Moment explains:
“The legislation…seeks to end prohibition as a means of curtailing crime and supporting a public health-focused approach to drug policy.”
However, Bolivar’s view is a bit different from his counterparts. He views cannabis legalization as a means of control:
“Bolivar, an author who has written several books centered on drug trafficking, has characterized the bill as being about ‘regularization, not legalization,’ but it would provide for legal sales to adults with restrictions similar to those imposed for tobacco and alcohol. There would be penalties for selling to underage individuals and smoking wouldn’t be permitted in public spaces.”
Looks to Canada, Uruguay, U.S. for Guidance
Bolivar says he used observations from Canada, Uruguay and the U.S. as examples. However, each country has its own approach.
For instance, Uruguay only allows sale in pharmacies. Consumers must register with these locations and THC levels are limited.
In Canada, regulations are rather tight, especially when it comes to packaging and advertising. This makes marketing products difficult. Edibles will also be rather weak, maxing out at 10mg of THC per unit.
The U.S. is easily the most permissive. States typically have no issue with things like creative packaging and advertising. Some cannabis lines even have celebrity endorsements.
It is unclear which of these models Bolivar wishes to emulate, or if he wishes to create a type of hybrid approach.
Support and Opposition
Bolivar’s legislation has widespread support. Senator Alberto Castilla Salazar of the Polo Democrático party also supports the bill. However, he believes that legalization will shift marijuana to a public health issue, rather than a legal one:
“Colombia must overcome prohibitionism and break the ties of illegal groups with the control of cannabis, so that it is the State that regulates, defines the forms and understands consumption as a public health problem.”
Senator Julián Gallo Cubillos of the FARC party sees legalization as “a new way to fight the scourge of drug trafficking.”
But perhaps the biggest deciding factor is former President Juan Manuel Desantos and his Liberal party. Although Desantos supports the bill, its success heavily depends on the direction in which his party members vote.
The only opposition comes from President Ivan Duque of the right-wing Democratic Centre party. However, his party is the minority and will need support from other parties to fight back against the legislation.
WeedAdvisor’s Colombian Presence
WeedAdvisor is proud to work with our Colombian clients, especially considering that marijuana reform has broadened – and will likely continue to do so.
As a new industry emerges and develops, we look forward to working with future and existing businesses, as well as government, to provide an extensive list of solutions meant to aid functions like complains, inventory tracking, safety, documentation, reporting and more.