Colombia Senate Rejects Cannabis Sales Bill

Colombian lawmakers voted 47-43 in favor of federally allowing adult-use cannabis sales but, per Colombia’s constitution, the proposal requires more than a simple majority, and it ultimately failed to pass the chamber.

Full story after the jump.

The Colombia Senate on Tuesday narrowly rejected a bill to allow legal cannabis sales to adults, Reuters reports. The measure failed despite having a majority of support in the chamber — 47 voted in favor and 43 opposed but, as a constitutional amendment, the bill needed support from 54 senators, leaving it just seven votes short.

Despite the vote, Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco indicated on Twitter that the administration of President Gustavo Petro would “insist on this issue.”  

In an interview with La Prensa Latina, Liberal Party Senator Juan Carlos Losada said he doesn’t consider the vote as a “defeat.” 

“We have taken a giant step, four years of putting such a controversial issue at the top of the public agenda, of the public debate. … Continuing to leave a substance that is legal in the hands of the drug traffickers and drug dealers is detrimental to the children of Colombia and detrimental to the country’s democracy.” — Losada to La Prensa Latina

The legislation included restrictions on the use and sale of cannabis and its derived products in schools and universities, and limited public consumption. Colombia currently allows some cannabis products for medical use, including oils and creams. Reforms passed in the 1980s and 1990s allow for personal cannabis use and cultivation up to 20 plants. 

Only one South American nation, Uruguay, allows cannabis sales to adults. 

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