In a surprise move, the Colombian government announced on Nov. 12, 2015, that it will legalize marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes. Colombia’s Minister of Justice, Yesid Reyes, made the announcement during an interview on Caracol Radio.
According to The Washington Post, the policy shift was issued by President Juan Manuel Santos in the form of an executive decree. In an interview with BBC Mundo, Santos said he will give his final approval soon, “I hope in the next three to four days.”
Although Colombia seems to be joining a growing movement in Latin America towards drug reform, conservative elements in the country’s government are still nervous about liberalizing its drug laws, due in no small part to the damage done to the country by drug cartels and cocaine trafficking.
Acknowledging those concerns, Reyes explained that this move would only legalize marijuana for medical and scientific purposes, and that the country was not looking to liberalize its drug laws any further.
“Nobody is talking about legalizing anything except for these two purposes,” Reyes said.