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News Link • Drug War

Colombia court: Personal drug use is not a crime

•, By Stephen C. Webster

The Constitutional Court of Colombia approved a plan that will drop all criminal penalties for individuals caught with small amounts of marijuana or cocaine, according to Spanish-language media reports.

That means anyone caught with less than 22 grams of marijuana, or one gram of cocaine, will no longer be subject to arrest or prosecution. People who are caught intoxicated in public can only be sent to receive medical or psychological treatment for their impairment.

The proposal, first introduced last year by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, is intended to refocus law enforcement resources on drug-runners and cartels and away from individual users.
“Today’s judicial ruling in Colombia represents yet another important step in the growing political and judicial movement in Latin America and Europe to stop treating people who consume drugs as criminals worthy of incarceration,” Ethan Nadalmann, who heads the U.S.-based Drug Policy Alliance, said in prepared text.

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