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Colombia decriminalizes cocaine, marijuana

Colombia has decriminalized cocaine and marijuana, saying that people cannot be jailed for possessing the drugs for personal use.

Clone of Colombia drugs 100512Enlarge
A Colombian police officer shows bags with marijuana seized during raids in Cali, Valle del Cauca department, Colombia, on March 9, 2012. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Colombia has decriminalized cocaine and marijuana, saying that people cannot be jailed for possessing the drugs for personal use.

Anyone caught with less 20 grams (0.705 ounces) of marijuana or one gram (0.035 ounces) of cocaine for personal use will not be prosecuted or detained, but could be required to receive physical or psychological treatment, depending on their level of intoxication, according to Colombia Reports. Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said law enforcement would continue its fight against drug trafficking, but would not make further comment.

More from GlobalPost: Colombia passes first draft of bill to legalize drug crops

Thursday's ruling challenged Colombia's 2011 citizen's security law, which said anyone found with up to one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of marijuana or 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cocaine should receive a sentence of at least 64 months in prison, reported the Associated Press. Chief prosecutor Eduardo Montealegre said Friday that the decision did not mean drugs would be legalized.

GlobalPost previously reported that Colombia is also moving toward legalizing drug crops. The country's House of Representatives in May passed the first draft of a bill that would decriminalize growing illegal drug plants, allowing residents to grow coca plants, marijuana plants and opium poppies. But representative Hugo Velasquez Jaramillo was quick to note that although the plants would be legalized, "the processing and trafficking of drugs would remain subject to criminal sentencing."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/colombia/120630/colombia-decriminalizes-cocaine-marijuana