Ex-Presidents Urge Legalization Of Cannabis

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Ex-presidents of Latin America urge legal marijuana

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (CNN) — Former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil called Wednesday for the decriminalization of marijuana for personal use and a change in tactics on the war on drugs, a Spanish news agency said.

Ex-presidents Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil made their announcement at a meeting in Brazil of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, the EFE news agency said.

“The problem is that current policies are based on prejudices and fears and not on results,” Gaviria said at a news conference in which the commission’s recommendations were presented.

The 17-member panel worked on the report for a year and will forward it to all Latin American governments as well as the United States and the European Union, EFE said. Gaviria said the time is right to start a debate on the subject, particularly with the pragmatic openings provided by the election of President Barack Obama in the United States.

“In many states in the United States, as is the case in California, they have begun to change federal policies with regard to tolerating marijuana for therapeutic purposes. And in Washington there’s some consensus that the current policy is failing,” EFE quotes Gaviria as saying.
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The decades-old criminalization of personal consumption has failed to stop the plant’s cultivation and distribution, the group said.
The commission urged that all current criminal prosecution be aimed at drug cartels and organized crime and not marijuana smokers, EFE said.
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Zedillo served as president of Mexico from 1994-2000. Gaviria was president of Colombia from 1990-94. And Cardoso led Brazil from 1995-2002.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/02/11/brazil.marijuana/index.html?iref=hpmostpop


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