Petro: Colombia’s Next President and Cannabis

Gustavo Petro is Colombia’s next president, following his electoral win on June 19. The election of its first leftist president, together with its first Afro-Colombian vice-president, is no doubt a momentous event for Latin America’s third-most populous country. What will a Petro presidency mean for cannabis?

According to Petro’s platform, a “focus on prohibitionism … imposed upon Colombia … war against coca, poppy, and cannabis.” In his view,

This war has failed and the country needs to move towards a new paradigm that brings together the global and Latin American will towards a concerted international agenda based on human rights and the construction of peace, the economic transformation of the producing environments without criminalizing the growers, the protection of nature, regulation, the judicial subjugation of criminal organizations and the approach of consumption as a public health issue.

As presented in the platform, cannabis and coca are an “important productive sector.” Petro calls for the development of cannabis agribusiness, with a view to its development as a regulated industry. In fact, the president-elect sees cannabis as having a special place in his efforts to spur development in the Colombian countryside, promising that the cannabis value chain will receive a “special impulse” under

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