By Oisin Sweeney • 04 December 2020 • 9:39
COLOMBIA is reviewing a new bill proposed by two senators to legalise the country’s multi-billion dollar cocaine industry.
The bill was proposed by senators Ivan Marulanda and Feliciano Valencia, who say they want to ‘open up the conversation among public opinion’ about Colombia’s relationship with the lucrative party drug. They argue that legalisation would save the South American country hundreds of millions of dollars and strip power from violent criminal groups.
According to Marulanda, the bill ‘proposes that the state buy the entirety of Colombia’s coca harvest’ from the country’s 200,000 farmers involved in growing the cocaine ingredient. He says that a billion dollars are spent by the state each year on ‘programs for coca eradication’, while he estimates that it would cost $680 million to purchase the entire annual crop. He added that under legalisation, protections could be placed on forests that have lost 75,000 hectares to coca farming.
Marulanda stressed that the most ‘important thing here is to save lives’, claiming that the state has ‘lost sovereignty over Colombian territory to the dominion of organised criminal mafias’. Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine, and the lucrative industry has given rise to numerous ruthless gangs such as the famous Medellin Cartel run by Pablo Escobar.
The bill also says that with regulation, more research could be conducted into the use of cocaine as a painkiller rather than a recreational party drug. However, despite hoping that the bill will be considered before the 2022 election both senators concede it is still far from coming into law. Marulanda explains that Colombia’s ‘military and police-driven drugs policy’ has become ‘more entrenched, more stubborn, and more severe in its application’.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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