Cannabis: beyond the Plant (and its Laws)
There are many debates surrounding cannabis, especially in Colombia, where there is a legal framework for specific uses. There are still gaps, especially around the regulation of adult-use consumption. What is the situation? What can we learn and apply from the case of cannabis to the law of other drugs?
In the fifth episode of Jardines y Laberintos, we talk to Colombian lawyer and researcher Diana Valenzuela Rodriguez. Although the legal situation of cannabis in her country remains complex, she says there has been significant progress in recent years.
Cannabis is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance globally, but only a few users have problematic uses. According to the latest United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report, the figure is 13% globally. For the specialist, regulation must guarantee that these people and other users have “guarantees for their health and that there is quality in the things they are consuming.”
Valenzuela maintains that the debate on the substance should be conducted transparently in forums involving more social sectors. “More diverse voices are needed, not only from the medical or pharmaceutical orthodoxy but also from other sectors that have much more room and respect at this time.”
Finally, she notes much to learn from this plant’s regulation path. There are lessons to apply for regulating other substances. The step-by-step process, especially in awareness and education, has been key to the current achievements. However, “what can be done with coca leaf is not simply copying a path, but innovating and improving it.”
‘Jardínes y Laberintos: Conversaciones sobre Drogas, Políticas y Violencias’ is a program of interviews with activists, growers, artists, researchers, and writers to talk about concrete cases and experiences around substances. Marcela Vallejo, a Colombian anthropologist and part of the Vist team, is the host. You will find it posted every Thursday on our YouTube channel.