Medical marijuana is now fully legalized in the South American country of Colombia, following an order signed on Tuesday by that country’s president.
According to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at a signing ceremony, the order represents “a major step that put Colombia at the vanguard and forefront of the fight against illnesses.
Santos stipulated that the order only applied to cannabis to be used for medical reasons, saying that the measure “does not go against our international commitments on drug control.”
While Colombia has been a leading partner with the United States in clamping down on the illegal drug trade, it joins several other nations in the region — including Mexico, Uruguay, and Chile– in altering their laws on the issue to reflect changing attitudes of the populace.
The measure was not without its opponents, however: Many conservative critics within and without the government were opposed to the motion, saying that relaxed laws around marijuana could benefit an already-vibrant Colombian drug trade and lead to rising levels of violence. (Colombia and Peru remain the world’s largest producers of cocaine.)
Santos dismissed his critics, saying that the new order “does not go against our international commitments on drug control.”