Convinced that prohibition of marijuana, or even cocaine, is not the solution to curbing addiction rates or fighting against the black market drug trade, Ecuadorian lawmakers have proposed a historic piece of legislation aimed at decriminalizing all illegal drugs.
Earlier last month, Carlos Velasco, who oversees Ecuador’s congressional Commission of the Right to Health, submitted a bill (Organic Law on Comprehensive Drug Prevention) that would strip away the criminal penalties currently associated with the possession and use of illicit substances, while establishing a system that provides prevention and rehabilitation programs as and alternative to jail.
"Treating the drug phenomenon in a repressive way, as was done in the 1980s and 1990s when prison was the only destination for the drug consumer, is absurd," said Velasco.
The law, if passed, would allow for the creation of a Technical Secretariat of Drugs, which would set controls on more than 100 substances, regulating every aspect from importation to general use. Anyone wishing to take advantage of the system, whether it is consumer or dealer, would be required to register with the agency and adhere to the rules set forth. The current law punishes individuals caught growing or selling illegal drugs to up to 16 years in prison. Under the revised statute, violators would only be required to surrender their stash and pay a fine.
But will decriminalization serve the greater good of Ecuador?
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