• Colombia

    Overview of drug laws, legislative trends and drug policies in Colombia

    Colombia is in the midst of a peace process with the guerrilla groups, which includes the issue of drugs in the different phases of production, trafficking and use. The government of President Juan Manuel Santos has played a prominent role on the international stage as an advocate for change in current drug policies. But in Colombia itself, modernisation of the drug law that has been in force since 1986 is still pending. This page describes what has been going on in the last few years with regard to these issues.

  • Joint statement

    On the implementation of the Peace Agreement in the territories with coca, poppy and marijuana crops in Colombia
    Dejusticia (Colombia), Transnational Institute, Washington Office on Latin America & OCDI-INDEPAZ
    March 13, 2017

    The signatory organizations call upon the Colombian Government and FARC-EP to respect producer communities, to address their concerns, and to build with them a spirit of trust and consultation, in order to guarantee that this implementation phase advances the well being of all communities.

    application pdfDownload the statement (PDF)

  • Colombian president signs decree to legalise medical marijuana

    New rules on growing and sale are ‘major step’ in fight against illnesses, President Santos said, as country shifts away from US-backed drug policies
    The Guardian / AP (UK)
    Tuesday, December 22, 2015

    Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has signed a decree legalizing the growing and sale of marijuana for medical purposes, a dramatic shift in a country long identified with US-backed policies to stamp out drug crops. Santos said the new regulatory framework was long overdue given that Colombians had been consuming marijuana and marijuana-based products in a legal void for years. The new rules only apply for medical and scientific purposes, not recreational use.

  • Urban drug markets and zones of impunity in Colombia

    The assumptions and the facts behind the retail drug trade and the responses to it
    Isaac De León Beltrán and Juan Carlos Garzón
    Briefing Series on Drug Markets and Violence Nr 2
    December 2014

    The retail drug trade has been identified by the authorities as a strategic priority, under the hypothesis that it is one of the main triggers of violence and crime, as well as a response by the criminal organisations to their loss of influence in global markets. How valid is this argument? The aim of this briefing is to put to the test the starting points and assumptions underlying the definition of this ‘new’ threat, and provide an overview of local drug markets and their relationship with violence and crime in Colombia’s cities.

    Download the full report (PDF)

  • Drugs, armed conflict and peace

    How does the agreement on drugs between the government and the FARC help to put an end to the armed conflict in Colombia?
    Ricardo Vargas
    TNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 42
    July 2014

    This policy briefing analyses the results of the partial agreement on drugs reached at the talks being held in Havana between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, and the Colombian government. The analysis is based on the joint communiqué issued on 16 May 2014, the eve of the first round of the presidential election in Colombia. Following a brief introduction to the drugs issue in the broader framework of the peace talks, the briefing looks at how the subject of illicit crops, drug use and trafficking is dealt with in the agreement. It concludes with an assessment of the progress that the agreement represents in terms of the link between drugs and armed conflict.

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  • Drugs as war economy and the peace process in Colombia: dilemmas and challenges

    Ricardo Vargas
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 41
    September 2013

    The fourth item on the agenda of talks “to end the conflict,” on the issue of drugs, seems to reflect rather a flat and simplistic view of the classic circuit of drug production, processing, trafficking and use. The relationship between drugs and armed conflict in Colombia is in fact much more complex. This report analyses the challenges that drug trafficking poses to the development of a sustainable peace.

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  • The illicit drugs market in the Colombian agrarian context

    Why the issue of illicit cultivation is highly relevant to the peace process
    Amira Armenta
    TNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 40
    February 2013

    The distribution of land and its unjust use are the major causes of violence in Colombia. For this reason land issues are the starting point of current peace talks between the Santos government and the FARC guerrillas. Remedying these structural problems at the heart of rural Colombia is the best guarantee of progress of the current peace negotiations that could bring an end to a half-century-old violent conflict.

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  • Bogotá’s medical care centres for drug addicts (CAMAD)

    An initative wedged between political discourse and technical action
    Julián Quintero
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 22
    November 2012

    In September 2012, the mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, launched the first centre for drug addicts in the Bronx, a marginalised city-centre neighbourhood. Called the Medical Care Centre for Dependent Drug Users (Centro de Atención Médica a Drogo­dependientes - CAMAD), it is staffed by psy­chiatrists, psychologists, doctors and nurses. The people given care in these cen­tres are in an at-risk situation and socially excluded due to their high levels of drug dependency.

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  • Colombia court upholds no jail time for drug use

    Associated Press
    Friday, June 29, 2012

    Colombia's Constitutional Court has ruled that people cannot be jailed for possessing cocaine and marijuana for personal use. The decision ratifies a previous Supreme Court ruling that said people cannot be jailed for possession of a so-called personal dose. A 2009 law placed the dose at up to 20 grams of marijuana and one gram of cocaine.

  • USAID's Alternative Development policy in Colombia

    A critical analysis
    Ricardo Vargas
    TNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 38
    October 2011

    Alternative Development (AD) must not be part of a militarised security strategy, which is the predominant approach in Colombia. Instead of simply attempting to reduce the area planted with illicit crops, Alternative Development programmes should operate within the framework of a rural and regional development plan.

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