EL TIEMPO, SEMANA (Colombia) MILENIO (Mexico)
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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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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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.