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Colombia Court Ruling: Public Cannabis Use Is Legal

Colombia’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the ban on public cannabis consumption is unconstitutional, effectively legalizing the public use of cannabis. According to one senator, the ruling was based on “technical legislative errors.”

Full story after the jump.

Colombia’s Constitutional Court has ruled parts of President Iván Duque’s 2017 Police Code are unconstitutional, including the ban on public cannabis consumption, according to an L.A. Weekly report. The ruling effectively legalizes public cannabis use in the South American nation.

Cannabis, and other illicit drugs, were decriminalized in Colombia seven years ago and medical cannabis use was made legal three years ago, but recreational cannabis use is still outlawed. Under the medical cannabis law, Colombians can grow up to 20 plants but there is otherwise not a legal consumer market.

Senator Gustavo Bolívar indicated that the ruling was based on “technical legislative errors” rather than a desire to change the law 2017 law.

“The Police Code was put into effect in 2017 as a political attempt to limit and punish cannabis usage after medical use was approved, and many portions of its code are considered onerous and unjustified.” – Bolívar, to L.A. Weekly

In 1994, the nation’s Constitutional Court ruled that punishing drug use violates the right to privacy, an individual’s autonomy and the free development of personality,” which are guaranteed under Article 22 of the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights.

“A law can not create general restrictions on freedom; it must be specific regarding time, place and circumstance and subject to reasonableness and proportionality,” the ruling states.

President Duque said while he “accepts and respects” the court ruling, “the free determination of personality is not above the free determination of drug addiction.” He added that police would continue imposing penalties and confiscating cannabis “even if doses are considered legal for personal use.”

The Colombia Legislature convenes today and the report indicates that many expect the body to tackle legalization legislation.

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