Colombian leader says could weigh legalising drugs

Juan Manuel Santos thinks legalising drugs could reduce violence and crime.

Bogota: Conservative Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on Sunday that he could consider legalising drugs as a way to reduce violence and crime in his country.

"It is an alternative that we can discuss. I am not opposed to any formula that is effective," Santos said in an interview with Semana, a news magazine.

"And if the world decides to legalise and thinks that that is how we reduce violence and crime, I could go along with that," he added.

In Latin America, several high-profile former leaders recently have come out in favour of legalising drugs to stem drug-related violent crime, such as former presidents Cesar Gaviria of Colombia, Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil.

Santos was one of a handful of prominent Latin American leaders who condemned a referendum held in California last November on legalising marijuana, saying that if it passed it would make it harder to combat drug cartels in the region and sent an inconsistent message.

In Mexico alone, fighting among drug cartels has left more than 34,600 people dead since December 2006.

Bureau Report

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