With Colombia’s Constitutional Court still reviewing a December measure recriminalizing “personal quantities” of drugs, President Alvaro Uribe March 22 announced that pending a decision on the penalty for possession, police will for now only be permitted to confiscate drugs rather than make an arrest. The recriminalization move was predictably hailed by Colombia’s National Police, with public security director Gen. Orlando Paez Baron stressing the importance of the “fight against micro-traffickers.” (Colombia Reports, March 22)
Ironically, just as Mexico passed a decriminalization bill last year in response to the “Colombianization” of the country with growing drug-related violence, Uribe was pushing his recriminalization drive. Because criminalization of personal quantities had been ruled unconstitutional by Colombia’s supreme court in 1994, Uribe’s move required a constitutional amendment. Despite strong opposition from his own Prosecutor General Mario Iguarán and other leading figures of Colombia’s political establishment, Uribe succeeded in winning congressional approval for the amendment in December. (Global Ganja Report, March 28)
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