The Colombian Congress rejected the bill that sought a constitutional reform to legalize the recreational use of cannabis by adults.
The project reached the eighth and final debate, but it did not obtain the necessary votes in the Senate, where it reached 47 votes in favor and 43 against; however, he needed 54 for the yes, the absolute majority to be able to pass to presidential sanction.
This is the fourth time in five years that the legalization of cannabis has failed to overcome majorities in the Colombian legislature.
“We have been trying to push this bill forward for four years, but we have come a long way, four years ago it sank in the first debate and today we reached the last debate, the first time we got 14 votes, this time we have 98 in the House and 47 in the Senate”, said the representative to the Chamber, Juan Carlos Losada, after knowing the result.
In addition, Losada assured that regulating recreational use “is not an easy task” and added that he is not “going to give up” and will resubmit the project in the next legislature because “he is convinced that better consensus can be achieved” to legalize it.
Since 2017, the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes has been allowed, however, for recreational use in adults, Colombia has opted for a prohibitionist policy in its fight against drugs.
In this sense, the illusion of being able to enter the recreational market, in a regulated market, for businessmen like Brian Rico and Bryna Castañeda, owners of Nativa Pharma Colombia, will have to wait.
“It is no secret to anyone that the industry goes through intensive care, we who are in the business know it and some analysts have also warned about it. The land that has permits to cultivate is not being used, that makes people wait for the final lifeline that is the entertainment industry,” he told the voice of america in a recent interview, Brian Castañeda.
The opposition to the bill that sought its regulation was led by the right-wing Centro Democrático party, which had the support of the Conservative Party, La U and Cambio Radical.
“Today the legislative act that sought the recreational use of marijuana and legalize drug trafficking from behind was finally sunk. Thanks to the senators,” Senator Paola Holguín, of the right-wing Democratic Center, said on her Twitter account.