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Colombia court: Personal drug use is not a crime

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The Constitutional Court of Colombia approved a plan that will drop all criminal penalties for individuals caught with small amounts of marijuana or cocaine, according to Spanish-language media reports.

That means anyone caught with less than 22 grams of marijuana, or one gram of cocaine, will no longer be subject to arrest or prosecution. People who are caught intoxicated in public can only be sent to receive medical or psychological treatment for their impairment.

The proposal, first introduced last year by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, is intended to refocus law enforcement resources on drug-runners and cartels and away from individual users.

“Today’s judicial ruling in Colombia represents yet another important step in the growing political and judicial movement in Latin America and Europe to stop treating people who consume drugs as criminals worthy of incarceration,” Ethan Nadalmann, who heads the U.S.-based Drug Policy Alliance, said in prepared text.

“The Colombian Constitutional Court’s decision is obviously most important in Colombia, where it represents both a powerful repudiation of [the former president’s] push to criminalize people who use drugs and a victory for President Juan Manuel Santos’s call for a new direction in drug policy,” he added.

The measure is just one of a number of drug war reforms Colombia’s current regime has pursued. The nation’s Chamber of Representatives approved a bill in May that would legalize the cultivation of drugs that grow as plants, like marijuana, opium, coca and poppies.

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Other countries, like Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil, are considering similar measures, and South American leaders recently met in Guatemala to discuss a new regional security accord that would include drug legalization, but the summit failed to produce an agreement after several key leaders failed to show up.

Colombia, a key U.S. ally in the region, has historically bent over backwards to enforce U.S. drug policies, going so far as to host U.S. troops on their military bases and allow U.S. drone surveillance of drug smuggling routes. They’ve even accepted prior U.S. administrations sending aircraft to spray hidden poppy and coca fields with toxic herbicides known to cause a variety of adverse health effects in humans.

President Barack Obama told South American leaders earlier this year that he’s willing to have a conversation on drug reforms, but insisted that legalization is not the answer. As a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Obama claimed he supported decriminalizing marijuana possession, but he’s not favored or even acknowledged that position as president. Instead, Obama has insisted that America’s war on drugs will not end on his watch, but he has voiced support for some reforms, like an increased focus on prevention and treatment over incarceration.
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Sergei Bachlakov / Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

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With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster.

(H/T: Colombia Reports)

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2020 Election

Can at least half the 2020 Democrats please quit right now?

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OK, Democrats — you’ve had your fun. You grew up being told that everybody could run for president, and then everybody did. Except that this mad anthill scramble of presidential candidates, which resembles a bunch of kindergarteners descending on not enough cookies, really hasn’t been fun so far. All you’ve managed to do is put the fear of God — or the fear of the other guy, more like — into the voters, provoking widespread PTSD flashbacks to November 2016.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Washington Post drops the hammer on the ‘breathtaking arrogance’ of Kelleyanne Conway in brutal editorial

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Addressing a report from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel recommending White House counsel Kellyanne Conway should be fired for flagrant violations of the Hatch Act, the Washington Post editorial board hammered President Donald Trump's confidante over her smirking response.

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‘Be ashamed’: Anthony Scaramucci’s wife deletes tweet after Soledad O’Brien opens a can of whoop ass on her

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Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O'Brien, a former CNN anchor, clashed with the wife of Trump surrogate Anthony Scaramucci over the weekend.

In a tweet on Friday, O'Brien complained that cable new networks were continuing to book the former White house communications director even though he has little of substance to add to the discussions.

"Why do you guys put this crap on tv?" O'Brien wrote after seeing an interview with Scaramucci. "Seriously it’s an insult to your viewers. And also absurd. Is there no one else in the whole world to book but this mediocre dude?"

Scaramucci's wife, Deidre, was moved to criticize O'Brien.

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