Colombian Leader: “It Makes No Sense” to Jail Peasant Over Marijuana

Article by CBS News

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos used the Nobel podium in Norway on Saturday to reiterate his call to “rethink” the war on drugs, “where Colombia has been the country that has paid the highest cost in deaths and sacrifices.”

“It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States,” he said.

Santos has argued that the decades-old U.S.-promoted war on drugs has produced enormous violence and environmental damage in nations that supply cocaine, and needs to be supplanted by a global focus on easing laws prohibiting consumption of illegal narcotics.

His remarks reflected views he’s held as far back as at least 2012, when he discussed his ideas for new approaches in the drug war in a Guardian interview. He said he would gladly participate in the drug debate, and that he wouldn’t be against legalizing drugs if the world viewed it as a solution.

In April this year he said: “the time has come for the world to transit into a different approach in its drug policy.”

“This is not a call for legalisation of drugs,” he wrote in The Guardian. “It is a call for recognition that between total war and legalisation there exists a broad range of options worth exploring if we want to take better care of drug consumers, protect our youth from drug abuse, collaborate to continue combating organised crime and provide alternative economic means to illegal crop farmers and vulnerable communities.”

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