New Colombian President Joins Call for Drug Legalization Debate

President Santos as candidate, June 2010 meeting with Secretary Clinton.President Santos as candidate, June 2010 meeting with Secretary Clinton.Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in a Mexico City radio interview Wednesday that he supported Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s call for a debate on drug legalization.


He also said that he will seek to build a united front with Peru and Mexico on legalization if voters in California approve marijuana legalization in November.

Colombia and Peru are the world’s top cocaine producers. Mexico is the leading hemispheric producer of marijuana and opium, as well as being the home to some of the world’s wealthiest and deadliest drug trafficking organizations.

“We are entering the era of the drug trafficking business where one must have these types of reflections,” Santos said. “President Calderon is right to call for this to be discussed, without meaning that one is in agreement or not with the position of legalization.”

Santos eyed California’s Proposition 19 marijuana legalization initiative with mixed feelings. “How would we explain to an indigenous person on a Colombian mountain that producing marijuana is illegal and take him to jail or destroy the marijuana when in the US it is legal to consume it?” he asked.

Santos said he was perturbed by the distinction made by some in the US between “soft” drugs like marijuana and “hard” drugs like cocaine or heroin. “Where do we draw the line?” he asked.

“We are all affected by this scourge of drug trafficking,” Santos said, referring to Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. “We must sit down and work out how we are going to react and what is going to happen after this referendum,” he said. “All strategies that are combined are more effective.”

Colombia cannot legalize the drug trade by itself, Santos said. “Unilaterally, we cannot legalize drugs because they are a problem not only for national security, but there are also international implications.”

That President Santos should make such remarks is not much of a surprise. In 1998, as head of the Good Government Foundation, he co-signed an open letter to then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan calling for a “frank and honest evaluation of global drug control efforts” because “we believe the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself.”

And two years ago, he told a London conference on cocaine that legalization should be part of the debate. He said then that there was no political will to do that. Time will tell if anything has really changed in that regard.

– Article from Stop the Drug War.



  1. Dave on

    Anyone who vilifies us after doing some unbiased research is “bearing false witness” against us! I think they can go to hell for that?

  2. Donncha on

    I read a lot of childish bantering, which is not helpful. The fact is “prohibition” itself is dysfunctional (that means it doesn’t work). The principle employed here is counter productive, concentrates power into the hands of the decision makers, and is self perpetuating until it exhausts resources. Prohibition is also a symptom of an unhealthy, imposing, Fascist, schizophrenic, personality disorder, anyone that supports it is delusional and should be helped.

  3. Anonymous on

    Hello …

    Earth calling …

    You don’t think that Columbia, Peru and Mexico are already selling drugs in the USA?

    Despite the war on people who use drugs, the use of all illegal substances has risen. Regulate it, tax it and control it sensibly and the problem will go away.

  4. Paul Pot on

    You ninny. Everything that you have said would happen in a state of legalisation is exactly what is happening now under a state of prohibition.

  5. Anonymous on

    1) sugar is not a drug: it doesn’t alter consciousness that’s what a drug is
    2) I eat Cheerios and my ass is not huge, what’s your point?
    3) People can earn the wages they deserve based on the skills they learn and the level of service they are willing to render- are you suggesting National Socialism as a weight loss technique dave?
    4) you say all kinds of sketchy lefty vague obtuse thing dave so your fear of prohibition, sugar and other people fits right in with your self rightiousness
    5)Pushing down on the plunger is what kills people dave.Its called an overdose
    6)nobody cares if you and your group use dangerous drugs dave, you are not that important to anybody except maybe your Gramma who you may owe rent money to
    7)I don’t care what you do. you are now officially free to bore us to death with your passive aggressive social engineering fantasies. Some of would be charming if you were in grade 9 but you are probably way older, so its just annoying.

  6. Anonymous on

    well, as long you are sorry

  7. Cheebs on

    Your right…

    PLEASE GOVERNMENT, Tell me what is and what isn’t ok for me to consume! I’m too stupid to make the decision myself.

  8. Dave on

    Sorry, you are not welcome here!

  9. Dave on

    If sugar was regulated like the drug it is, Americans wouldn’t be such fat asses. Have you ever critically looked at children’s breakfast cereals? And besides if you pay people a living wage then they’ll be able to afford better food. I’d say most of the deaths are prohibition related. Unknown purity and potency and reusing needles cause most of the deaths. Most of the people in our group don’t do cocaine, heroine or other drugs and we certainly won’t even if they are legalized. Are you saying you would?

  10. Anonymous on

    gimme liberty, now watch me die

    people are insane- legal cocaine & heroin will fill the cemetaries and basically who cares whos smokes pot, but if stoners get caught driving stoned
    or sparking up within 1000 feet of a minor or a designated public space- just watch the prisons fill up– all this move will do will enrich Columbia, Peru and Mexico and make America into dope zombie zone within a decade.
    Useless people on drugs on one side of the fence, straight productive people on the other side- this is Brave New World, with three flavours of SOMA

    A legal drug America will be a rotton sewer of wiped out assholes falling off balconies into oncoming traffic.But maybe the stoners will shoot each other as fast as we can bury them. It will not be beautiful or cool. I am moving to Canada before anyu of that stars because the worst Canadian politician is still better than the best American politician.

  11. Anonymous on

    Fair enough. If the death rates from drug ODs fall or rise after legalization remains to be seen. However, food is legal all over the world and look at the grossly fat asses of Americans, what appetites they have for the things that are not good for them that other people seem to be able to avoid. If drug legalization does start killing off target racial groups, like the War on Drugs seems to have been doing all along, what do we do then? Prohibit these drugs to ethnic groups at risk ? It looks like legalization will just present a new set of problems rather than solve the ones we have now.

    Give me liberty or give me death takes on a whole new meaning.

  12. Anonymous on

    it’s very ironic that you should say that when during this drug war era drugs like cocaine and heroin have been expertly used to do exactly that: erode the power of the African American population, and more recently Latino. Secondly, it is entirely false and totally unfounded to imply that drug legalization or decriminalization would lead to wide spread drug addiction or overdoses, when this has never ever been the case elsewhere.

  13. derpderp on

    Mr. Santos sounds like a pretty legit dude

  14. Anonymous on

    If Columbia, Peru & Mexico produce Cocaine, Opiates and Cannabis and vend them at their leisure to the United States legally, say goodbye to America. Those pimp dope nations and their drug marketing governments will pull us into ruin like China tumbled down during the Opium Wars.

    People do not need Cocaine, Opiates or Cannabis to live good lives. The drug overdoses will skyrocket, why? because Americans are creatures of excess and these deadly drugs do kill. Who will take responsibility when the drug OD death-rate shows that a much higher ratio of of Blacks, Latinos , Gays and poor people are perishing than white educated Americans? It looks like somebody in the population control has targeted entire sectors of the American people to die. Modern government will be collecting taxes on this new legal drug trade as Americans on party mode die like flies. Legalizing drugs doesn’t make them any less toxic: it just diverts billions of dollars in blood money to Washington