Monday, October 25, 2010

California Pot and Colombia

Colombian Pres. Juan Manuel Santos said the other day that California's ballot initiative to partially legalize marijuana would be a disaster for Colombia. After all, just imagine what in the world will they say to those poor Colombian pot farmers, when their product is being sold legally in California?

I've got news for Pres. Santos: Pot is already quasi-legal in many places, as it was here in Colombia from 1991 until almost a year ago. Instead of a problem, the Colombian government should see this as an opportunity, an excuse to quit persecuting poor peasants, to empty prisons and generate new taxes and exports. After all, back in my high school days so many years ago,
Colombian Gold was the gold standard for pot.

And pot legalization might just be for a first step toward legalization of cocaine, heroin and other drugs, which would take away a huge income source from Colombia's outlaw guerrillas, paramilitaries and narcos.

In refreshing contrast, Colombian Congress President Armando Benedetti, a Santos supporter, supports drug legalization. But, sensibly, he recognizes that going it along would make Colombia an international pariah. But he wants it done multilaterally.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogota Bike Tours.

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