Drug War

Colombia's President: 'I Would Talk About Legalizing…More Than Just Marijuana'

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In an interview with The Observer, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a leading drug warrior, elaborates on his openness to legalization:

A new approach should try and take away the violent profit that comes with drug trafficking… If that means legalizing, and the world thinks that's the solution, I will welcome it. I'm not against it….

I would talk about legalizing marijuana and more than just marijuana. If the world thinks that this is the correct approach, because for example in our case we used to be exporters, but we were replaced by the producers of California. And there even was a referendum in California to legalize it and they lost it but they could have won. I ask myself how would you explain marijuana being legalized in California and cocaine consumption being penalized in Idaho? It's a contradiction. So it's a difficult problem where you set the limits. It's a difficult decision. For example, I would never legalize very hard drugs like morphine or heroin because in fact they are suicidal drugs. I might consider legalizing cocaine if there is a world consensus because this drug has affected us most here in Colombia. I don't know what is more harmful, cocaine or marijuana. That's a health discussion. But again, only if there is a consensus.

I noted Santos' departure from prohibitionist orthodoxy last month.

[Thanks to Richard Cowan for the tip.]