News stories that use of illegal drugs is up in the US are worrying, as are the suggestions of a cause-and-effect link to more permissive marijuana laws in many U.S. states.
Back in the days when I was a California high school student 'Colombian gold' was the gold standard of pot. Today, California produces far more marijuana than Colombia does. But anything concerning the impacts of drug legalization is important to Colombia.
Legalizing cocaine and heroin would certainly reduce violence in Colombia, Mexico, the U.S. and other nations by taking a huge amount of income from illegal groups and reducing their incentive to fight against each other and state authorities. Corruption would also decline, and innumerable lives would escape destruction by either these outlaw groups or the law enforcement system.
Those are a few of the positives of decriminalization.
But, wherever those drugs labeled 'illegal' fall on the spectrum of addictiveness and destructiveness to mind and body, they indisputably damage many lives. So, any policy which increases drug consumption - whether legal or illegal - should concern us.
However, experiences in countries such as Holland and Portugal, where drugs have been decriminalized in various numbers and degrees, have suggested that such policies DO NOT increase use.
The jury's still out - keep watching the news.
Blog by Mike Ceaser, of Bogota Bike Tours