Colombia Has Legalized Medical Marijuana Via Presidential Decree

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In September, a Mexican judge ruled that medicinal marijuana was legal to use for the treatment of an 8-year-old girl. Now, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has followed suit with a more broad ruling that will legalize medical marijuana for everyone who qualifies. Santos, who has previously admitted to smoking weed in his youth, said the new law “represents a major step that put Colombia at the vanguard and forefront of the fight against illnesses,” according to The Guardian.

Santos made the announcement on TV and said the law made it legal for people to grow, process, import, and export weed, as long as it was for medical uses. “This decree allows licenses to be granted for the possession of seeds, cannabis plants, and marijuana,” he said, AFP reports.

The president added that this decision does not mean the country is going to loosen up about drug control, though not everyone agrees. Critics see this as a sign of a government that is not as committed to fighting drug trafficking. In the last 20 years, the country has allowed a small amount of drugs for personal use for “free development of one’s personality,” but Colombia has been wary about making bigger moves because of its reputation when it comes to cocaine.

On the other hand, legalizing marijuana means bringing relief to the 400,000 suffering from epilepsy and other illnesses.

Prior to Santos’ announcement, marijuana was legal through a 1986 law that wasn’t defined enough to allow for production on a national scale.