Last Monday, I listened to an audio that went viral in my home country. It was a radio caller on Colombia’s most listened morning station; the caller wanted to give his opinion about the day’s topic, the illicit drug personal dose.
The radio caller was a dad named Carlos, and he began his testimony detailing how he found eight providers of marijuana, ecstasy, and acids in his seventeen-year-old son’s cell phone. He also found the conversations that proved the transactions to acquire the illicit drugs.
According to Carlos, he wrote down the names and numbers of the friends/dealers and drove to the police department in Bogota to denounce the young criminals, but they dismissed him. Apparently, they had bigger fish to fry than micro-dealers, as they are called.
With his voice breaking, this father shared his feelings of desperation and impotence. After three years of therapy and four failed rehab attempts, he had to let his son hit rock bottom.
His son, whom he wanted to give the world–all the opportunities he couldn’t have–quit school and left home three months ago to become a homeless drifter in throes of drug addiction.
This piercing true life story fit the shoe of the most heated debate in Colombia today perfectly. In the midst of the largest illicit crops growth in decades, the recently inaugurated president, Ivan Duque, presented a draft of an executive order that aims to control the permitted consumption of marijuana and other psychotropic substances in public.
Since 1986, the Law 30 determined that an individual could carry a minimum personal dose of illegal drugs–20 grams for marijuana and 5 grams of cocaine for example–without penalty.
Then, in 2012, Colombia’s Constitutional Court upheld a long fought decision and ruled that the predetermined allowed amounts were against the needs of addicts who may need more to manage their disease.
As a result, drugs are available everywhere: parks, malls, bars, and of course, high schools and universities. This was the moment in history when the micro-dealers exploited the ambiguity of the law.
Drug dealers can now carry enough drugs on them with the intent to distribute disguised as personal consumption. The argument used by the high court to defend the personal dose can be translated as “the Government respects human dignity, autonomy, and the right to develop a free personality.“
Therefore I ask, what happens with the human dignity, autonomy, and the right to develop a free personality of the people who don’t consume illegal drugs? Do they have any weight in the balance of justice? Based on the current laws on the books, no.
The executive order is not pursuing to criminalize minimum dose users as its critics cry out. What it is trying to accomplish is to equalize the regulation of alcoholic beverages to the consumption of narcotics and hallucinogens in public, as it is already contemplated in the National Police and Coexistence Code (in Spanish Código Nacional de Policía y Convivencia.)
The minimum dose changed Colombia’s status in the world from “producer” to “producer and consumer” of narcotics after legalization. Here in the United States, those in favor argue it will end the micro-trafficking.
Perhaps they need to take a trip to my home country and look closely at the new generation which is being poisoned from within by their own friends under the authorities’ protection.
Thanks for reading and sharing,