• Colombia

    Overview of drug laws, legislative trends and drug policies in Colombia

    MapaColombiaColombia is in the midst of a peace process with the guerrilla groups, which includes the issue of drugs in the different phases of production, trafficking and use. The government of President Juan Manuel Santos has played a prominent role on the international stage as an advocate for change in current drug policies. But in Colombia itself, modernisation of the drug law that has been in force since 1986 is still pending. This page describes what has been going on in the last few years with regard to these issues.

  • Why coca leaf, not coffee, may always be Colombia’s favourite cash crop

    One of the least controversial proposals in the FARC peace accords is the idea of crop substitution and alternative development in these regions
    Iban De Rementeria
    The Conversation (US)
    Sunday, March 19, 2017

    Colombia’s current peace process is facing numerous challenges. In a country that has suffered the worst impacts of the international drug war, one main dilemma is this: what to do with rural regions which have specialised in producing coca leaf, the main ingredient in one of the world’s most lucrative products? The uncomfortable truth about international agricultural markets is that only in illicit ones are poor local producers able to sell their product for a price that actually covers the cost of inputs: land, labour and capital. In a globalised world, illegal crops such as coca, cannabis and poppies are poor farmers’ rational response to the ruinously low prices of imported subsidised farm products.

  • Confronting Colombia’s coca boom requires patience and a commitment to the peace accords

    Troublingly, there have been reports of forced eradication in communities that are either negotiating or have signed crop substation agreements with the government under the terms of the accord
    Adam Isacson
    Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
    March 13, 2017

    colombia cocaleros guaviareColombia is in the midst of a coca boom, perhaps its largest ever. The coca boom’s causes are complex, and Colombia’s government is hoping that the U.S. government will respond in a manner that recognizes this complexity and joins it in pursuing a lasting solution within the peace accords’ framework. Colombian media have expressed worry that, with a conservative U.S. administration and Congress, the bilateral relationship might once again “narcotize.”

  • Joint statement

    On the implementation of the Peace Agreement in the territories with coca, poppy and marijuana crops in Colombia
    Dejusticia (Colombia), Transnational Institute, Washington Office on Latin America & OCDI-INDEPAZ
    March 13, 2017

    Exactly one year ago, in the 59th session of the CND, the Colombian government urged the international community to openly debate the results obtained during the 50 years of the war on drugs (in the context of the UNGASS discussions). Colombia highlighted the need to better the understanding and attention to the socioeconomic factors underlying the cultivation of coca, poppy and/or cannabis, such that goals to reduce crops would not be taken without considering these structural conditions.

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    The signatory organizations call upon the Colombian Government and FARC-EP to respect producer communities, to address their concerns, and to build with them a spirit of trust and consultation, in order to guarantee that this implementation phase advances the well being of all communities.

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  • Colombian president signs decree to legalise medical marijuana

    New rules on growing and sale are ‘major step’ in fight against illnesses, President Santos said, as country shifts away from US-backed drug policies
    The Guardian / AP (UK)
    Tuesday, December 22, 2015

    marihuana-medicinal2Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has signed a decree legalizing the growing and sale of marijuana for medical purposes, a dramatic shift in a country long identified with US-backed policies to stamp out drug crops. Santos said the new regulatory framework was long overdue given that Colombians had been consuming marijuana and marijuana-based products in a legal void for years. The new rules only apply for medical and scientific purposes, not recreational use.

  • Urban drug markets and zones of impunity in Colombia

    The assumptions and the facts behind the retail drug trade and the responses to it
    Isaac De León Beltrán and Juan Carlos Garzón
    Briefing Series on Drug Markets and Violence Nr 2
    December 2014

    dmv2_coverThe retail drug trade has been identified by the authorities as a strategic priority, under the hypothesis that it is one of the main triggers of violence and crime, as well as a response by the criminal organisations to their loss of influence in global markets. How valid is this argument? The aim of this briefing is to put to the test the starting points and assumptions underlying the definition of this ‘new’ threat, and provide an overview of local drug markets and their relationship with violence and crime in Colombia’s cities.

    Download the full report (PDF)

  • Drugs, armed conflict and peace

    How does the agreement on drugs between the government and the FARC help to put an end to the armed conflict in Colombia?
    Ricardo Vargas
    TNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 42
    July 2014

    dpb42This policy briefing analyses the results of the partial agreement on drugs reached at the talks being held in Havana between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, and the Colombian government. The analysis is based on the joint communiqué issued on 16 May 2014, the eve of the first round of the presidential election in Colombia. Following a brief introduction to the drugs issue in the broader framework of the peace talks, the briefing looks at how the subject of illicit crops, drug use and trafficking is dealt with in the agreement. It concludes with an assessment of the progress that the agreement represents in terms of the link between drugs and armed conflict.

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  • Drugs as war economy and the peace process in Colombia: dilemmas and challenges

    Ricardo Vargas
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 41
    September 2013

    The fourth item on the agenda of talks “to end the conflict,” on the issue of drugs, seems to reflect rather a flat and simplistic view of the classic circuit of drug production, processing, trafficking and use. The relationship between drugs and armed conflict in Colombia is in fact much more complex. This report analyses the challenges that drug trafficking poses to the development of a sustainable peace.

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  • The illicit drugs market in the Colombian agrarian context

    Why the issue of illicit cultivation is highly relevant to the peace process
    Amira Armenta
    TNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 40
    February 2013

    brief40The distribution of land and its unjust use are the major causes of violence in Colombia. For this reason land issues are the starting point of current peace talks between the Santos government and the FARC guerrillas. Remedying these structural problems at the heart of rural Colombia is the best guarantee of progress of the current peace negotiations that could bring an end to a half-century-old violent conflict.

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  • Bogotá’s medical care centres for drug addicts (CAMAD)

    An initative wedged between political discourse and technical action
    Julián Quintero
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 22
    November 2012

    dlr22In September 2012, the mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, launched the first centre for drug addicts in the Bronx, a marginalised city-centre neighbourhood. Called the Medical Care Centre for Dependent Drug Users (Centro de Atención Médica a Drogo­dependientes - CAMAD), it is staffed by psy­chiatrists, psychologists, doctors and nurses. The people given care in these cen­tres are in an at-risk situation and socially excluded due to their high levels of drug dependency.

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