Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos

Colombia could soon become the latest country to embrace the use of marijuana for medical purposes. On Thursday President Juan Manuel Santos endorsed a new medical marijuana bill. From Reuters:

“We look favorably upon your initiative over medicinal and therapeutic use of marijuana,” said Santos, referring to a congressional bill by Liberal party Senator Juan Manuel Galan to legalize it. Santos began his second four-year mandate on Aug. 7.

The president said Galan’s bill was a compassionate measure for the terminally ill but also as a way to “remove criminals from being the intermediary between the patient and a substance that will ease their suffering.”

If the bill becomes law Colombia would join countries like Canada and Israel which have legal medical marijuana systems.

This is another example of how Latin American seems to be moving towards a new approach when it comes to drug policy. Over the past few years top officials across the region have talked openly about the possibility of big changes and last year Uruguay adopt a new law legalizing and heavily regulating marijuana for adults.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

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