Colombia Senate to vote Tuesday on bill that would legalize sale of recreational cannabis

Bogota, Jun 20 (EFE)- Colombia’s Senate is holding its eighth and final debate on legislation that would decriminalize the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes to adults, with lawmakers facing a Tuesday deadline to approve that constitutional reform bill.

The bill’s proponents had hoped to pass the legislation last Thursday, but Senate President Alexander Lopez adjourned the session due to a verbal confrontation pitting two senators from the Green Alliance party – Inti Asprilla, who supports the bill, and Jota Pe Hernandez, who opposes it.

Debate resumed on Monday, but Lopez once again put off a vote, citing a lack of quorum.

That session ended up mired in controversy, since proponents of the bill had abandoned the chamber when it became clear they were one vote short of the 54 needed to approve the legislation (due to one missing lawmaker – Sen. Alex Florez of the ruling Historic Pact for Colombia coalition).

Lopez subsequently declared a lack of quorum for a vote on the bill, triggering the ire of the opposition.

“We were going to sink the marijuana bill,” Sen. Paloma Valencia of the opposition conservative Democratic Center party tweeted. “Since they were unable to pass the marijuana bill (once again on Monday), they … disrespected the rights of the opposition.”

Florez said he would vote in favor of the bill on Tuesday, although it remains to be seen whether enough support for the measure will hold.

Since the bill would reform Colombia’s constitution, the text must be approved before the end of Congress’ regular session, which concludes on Tuesday.

If the bill is passed and signed into law by leftist President Gustavo Petro, who supports expanded marijuana legalization, it would allow cannabis for recreational purposes to be sold to adults at authorized sites.

That would make Colombia just the second Latin American country (after Uruguay) to allow the legal sale of personal consumption cannabis to adults.

The use of marijuana for medical purposes is legal in Colombia and people there are allowed to possess and consume cannabis that they have grown themselves.

But commercialization of that psychoactive drug remains illegal. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button