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Colombia Bill To Decriminalize Use Of Ecstasy, Other Synthetic Drugs



BOGOTÁ- Colombia's Justice Minister announced a government proposal to decriminalize personal use of synthetic drugs such as ecstasy and methamphetamines.

If the proposal, as laid out by Justice Minister Ruth Stella Correa this week, passes Congress, it will authorize the carrying and consumption of what are known to some as "designer drugs."

Currently in Colombia, possession of personal doses are authorized for cocaine and marijuana, with the maximum levels being one gram of cocaine or 20 grams of marijuana, according to Mexican newspaper Milenio.

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ecstasy capsules by Ray-dahn

Colombian weekly magazine, Semana, writes that Daniel Mejia, Director of the Centre for studies on security and drugs in the Andean University, backs the proposal. "It is important to anticipate and know that consumption and the phenomenon of synthetic drugs are growing," Mejia said.

Delia Hernández, spokesperson for the Addiction Association in the country, said education about drug must be expanded before the measure is implemented.

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Crystal Methamphetamine by Radspunk

According to El Tiempo, the new legislation will also include stiffer penalties related to drug trafficking, and crimes committed under the influence.

Consumption of the substances in public places will be strictly prohibited, although carrying them in public will not be writes El Tiempo. The proposition places an obligation on parents and guardians to protect children and adolescents from drugs, with risks of losing custody.

Penalties for traffickers will be increased for dealing near schools. These higher penalties would also be applied when the dealer is a person with influence over children, e.g. teachers. Students who are caught with drugs, or consuming them, could be expelled from the institutions.

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Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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