In a Sunday interview, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called for the global legalization of marijuana, but said his country could not be the one to lead the way. Santos also called for a tougher, smarter approach to international drug trafficking and hard drug use. President Santos said that the world needs to discuss new approaches since we have been basically thinking within the same framework for the last 40 years.
Columbia remains a world leader of cocaine production, but they have made progress in the fight aginst violent drug cartels. The two largest families were toppled in the last 20 years. The country is still plagued with mini-cartels to fill in the drug trafficking market.
When pressed by the interviewer whether marijuana legalization could further reduce violence, he answered that he would support legalization, but only if it were a global move. He said that it would be too much of an undertaking for Columbia to do it alone because of national security, since the country is still plagued with traffickers. He said he would be crucified to take the first step. He would like the global input of looking at the profit and crime that follows drug trafficking, how it is often involved with money laundering and arms trade.
“In other countries [Europe and the US] this is mainly a health and crime issue,” Santos said. “We need to look at all components, one of them being targeting the assets in this business. But we need to do so on a global level. We must discuss a new approach, looking at all the components: The profit and the crime that follows drug trafficking, the fight against money laundering, trade with arms and so on. These are all effects of drugs.”
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