EspañolColombia’s House of Representatives passed a law Wednesday, May 25, making medical marijuana legal country-wide.
The bill, which received 83 votes in favor and three against, was spearheaded by Liberal Party Senator Juan Manuel Galan over the last 10 months.
Cultivation, production, manufacture, purchase, import, export, storage, marketing, distribution, use and possession of cannabis will now be allowed for medicinal and scientific purposes.
However, the bill states it is not legalizing recreational use of marijuana, as the intended purpose of the law is only to give Colombians an alternative treatment of chronic and terminal illnesses. Given the nature of the drug, it will have to hold up to very high standards accepted by the scientific community.
With the approval from the lower house, the law takes a step in a new direction for fighting the drug problem in Colombia.
Congress’s decision allows the country to become the fourth Latin American country after Chile, Puerto Rico and Uruguay to pass legislation on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
In the rest of the region, the use of marijuana remains illegal; however, countries like Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela do not penalize consumption.