You don’t have to have seen ‘Narcos’ or any other drug related film to know that South America is a hotbed for cocaine and the highest of the high grade stuff comes from from Colombia, so it’s not really that surprising to hear that the government over there is thinking about legalising the industry.
Featured Image VIA
The bill has been proposed by Senators Iván Marulanda and Feliciano Valencia, who argue that bringing the industry into state control could help ease the pressure on the public purse created by illegal trafficking. They propose that the state buys the entirety of Colombia’s coca harvest from the 200,000 farmers that are currently growing it meaning that their work is legalised and they can also avert the deforestation that it’s a major contributing factor in.
Legalisation would also save a lot of money as the cost of eradicating the harvest is £740 million a year as opposed to buying it for just £505 million a year. There’s also the obvious advantage of cutting out a big part of the criminal element associated with the drug.
There’s a strong fiscal margin and they could push up the price if they need to. And if you need more, you’d have to feed the program with more public spending. But the important thing here is to save lives.
The thing is, we have to recover control over the state. We’re losing control of the state to corruption, narcos in politics. They’re in municipalities, in departments and in congress. All the way to the highest echelons of government.
In Colombia, the personal consumption of cocaine is legal. It’s legal because of a court ruling that recognises personal consumption as a human right… however, what we don’t have is the legal cocaine to meet that demand.
Instead, we have consumers who are in contact with organised crime groups who supply them cocaine in local drug markets. It’s poor quality cocaine and it’s often mixed with unregulated substances. It’s everywhere: in our schools, in universities, in parks and bars. It’s in all these public spaces.
Colombia’s drug policy has only become more entrenched, more stubborn and more severe in its application… we’re now in the year 2020. Yet Colombia exports 90% of the cocaine in the world today… we’ve lost sovereignty over Colombian territory to the dominion of organised criminal mafias.
The first big obstacle is to open up the conversation among public opinion. This has been a giant taboo. Colombians are born and raised under this assumption that drug-trafficking is a war. There’s no information about coca and cocaine. So, with this bill we hope to open the conversation.
I mean to me it’s an absolute no brainer that all drugs should be legalised as it will eliminate the majority of crime in the world. People are going to do them anyway, so why not just legalise them, make them safer and tax them so you can make a bit of money off them as well? It’s obviously going to be a very long time until that happens, but the recent legalisation of weed in some states in America tells us that it might happen in our lifetime at some point. This Colombian conversation is another positive sign. Let’s hope the bill passes, although I imagine it will take a lot of time before it becomes a reality.
For more of the same, check out when £52 million worth of cocaine bricks washed up on the beach in France. Crazy.