The Colombian Senate voted 56-3 in favor of advancing cannabis legalization reforms on Tuesday, bringing the South American country one step closer to ending cannabis prohibition outright, Marijuana Moment reports.
The bill was already approved in Colombia’s Chamber of Representatives in October but, because lawmakers are seeking legalization via a constitutional amendment, federal law requires the proposal to be subjected to eight legislative debates across two years before it can finally become law.
The proposed constitutional amendment speaks to the public health and economic benefits of ending cannabis prohibition and would give officials six months to establish rules for an adult-use cannabis market. But while the proposal largely liberalizes adult access to the plant, it would still limit cannabis possession and consumption near schools and in certain public spaces. The proposal also calls for public education campaigns about cannabis and would promote substance misuse treatment services, the report said.
Speaking in favor of the reforms at a Senate panel last month, Justice Minister Néstor Osuna said that Colombia was the victim of “a failed war that was designed 50 years ago and, due to absurd prohibitionism, has brought us a lot of blood, armed conflict, mafias, and crime,” according to the report.
Medical cannabis is already legal in Colombia — last year, lawmakers lifted a national ban on exporting dried cannabis flower and expanded the sale of medical cannabis products.
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