Colombia: recreational use regulations pass first congress test

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The recreational consumption regulation project moves to the second debate

After unblocking the discussion, the first House committee finally gave the green light to the initiative: it had 17 positive votes and 14 negative votes, thus continuing its process. The bill that seeks to regulate the recreational use of cannabis for adults was moved to a second debate on Wednesday. After an arduous discussion and several attempts to sink it, 31 members of the House's first committee voted for the articles and the title of the bill.

This initiative, promoted by Congressmen Juan Carlos Losada and Juan Fernando Reyes Kuri, aims to amend Article 48 of the Political Constitution, opening the door to the recreational use of cannabis and its derivatives.

Achieving this goal has not been easy. This Wednesday, the discussion which had been frozen on Tuesday, September 15 was unblocked due to a tie vote. This is why the president of the board of directors of the First Committee decided to transmit it to this day. At the start, 35 members voted to discuss the presentation of the bill: 19 members of Congress supported it and 16 voted against. Then the committee continued to vote on the articles, title and proposals that were added to the project.

“If we approve this article, we approve conditional constitutional reform. We cannot do that, ”said representative César Lorduy of Radical Change. “This proposal is one way of conditioning reform on the design and implementation of policy. For this grace, they would have sunk the project, but as the majorities did not give, they now intend to return harmless, to castrate this reform by means of a proposal ”, added José Daniel Lopez, also of this party.

“This is great news to start guaranteeing the individual rights and freedoms of the country's citizens. And to reduce the stigma of non-problematic consumers. On the other hand, it will help us close the door to criminal drug trafficking gangs. We think this is a very important political fact, ”said Juan Carlos Losada, speaker and co-author of the project.

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The struggle of Juan Carlos Losada and Juan Fernando Reyes Kuri, liberal representatives and authors of the project, was strong because it is a sensitive issue to which its detractors have provided moral arguments to sink it. During a first discussion, conservative representative Adriana Magali Matiz asked that it be put aside on September 8. After hours of argument, 18 people voted to continue debate on the bill and 17 voted not to. A vote saved the proposal.

Representative Juan Carlos Losada welcomed this decision and noted that it was a step in the right direction to rethink the approach to the war on drugs.

"It is excellent news to start guaranteeing individual rights and guarantees, to reduce the stigmatization suffered by cannabis users, of whom all statistics show that they are 90% non-problematic users", a- he declared.

Meanwhile, Representative Erwin Arias criticized the project and said “marijuana is addictive and is the gateway to other psychoactive substances, we cannot legalize it and then think about prevention.

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The vote took place after a tie vote on September 15.

Tags : ColombiaDrugLawProhibition
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