Updated 03:46 AM EDT, Wed, Oct 28, 2020

Medical Marijuana Legalized by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos

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Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos has signed a decree on Tuesday legalizing the growing and sale of marijuana for medical purposes.

During the signing ceremony for the presidential decree, Santos remarked that the new rule was long overdue given that Colombians had been using marijuana-based products in a legal void for years, ABC News reported from the Associated Press.

The new regulatory frameworks "represent a major step that put Colombia at the vanguard and forefront of the fight against illnesses," Santos added, as quoted in ABC News' report. The new policy puts Colombia in line with other Latin American nations, such as Mexico and Chile, which have experimented with the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. These changes are part of a series of changing attitudes toward drug use and policies in an effort to fight against it.

Supporters of the new clearer policy said that it will benefit about 400,000 Colombians suffering from epilepsy and other ailments. For 20 years, Colombians have been permitted to possess small amounts of any narcotic for personal use because of a string of Constitutional Court rulings guaranteeing the "free development of one's personality," the news outlet noted.

However, the congress and the executive branch have been hesitant to provide support to such ideas because it might portray the country's officials as weak, ABC News added. Colombia is the largest supplier of cocaine to the United States.

Conservative critics both from Colombia and other countries regard Santos' drug policy reform as a sign that his government is deteriorating, ABC News reported. Earlier this year, a decision to terminate a two-decade-old campaign of spraying illegal coca crops with herbicides also turned heads. Santos, meanwhile, said that he is committed to make the new rules only apply for medical and scientific purposes, not recreational use.

Colombia has long been held up with U.S.-backed policies to get rid of narcotics production, ABC News reported. A staggering decline in violence over the past 15 years is attributed to the administration's no-tolerance policy for drugs.

In November, it was reported that the New Colombia Resources' subsidiary, Sannabis SAS, will be a part of the country's new framework. MarketWatch wrote that Sannabis is "proud to become the pilot for this new industry," and that the company has been utilizing the techniques and protocols instituted in the policy.

Sannabis, which has the support of regulatory agencies, has been cultivating medical marijuana and producing first-rate products for more than 2 years in Colombia, according to MarketWatch. The company aspires to lead the manufacturing of medical marijuana products in the country.

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