BOGOTÁ, Colombia — It’s the largest producer of cocaine in the world, the source of more than 90 percent of the drug seized in the United States. It’s home to the largest Drug Enforcement Administration office overseas. And for decades, it’s been a key partner in Washington’s never-ending “war on drugs.”
Now, Colombia is calling for an end to that war. It wants instead to lead a global experiment: decriminalizing cocaine.
Two weeks after taking office, the country’s first leftist government is proposing an end to “prohibition” and the start of a government-regulated cocaine market. Through legislation and alliances with other leftist governments in the region, officials in this South American nation hope to turn their country into a laboratory for drug decriminalization.
“It is time for a new international convention that accepts that the war on drugs has failed,” President Gustavo Petro said in his inaugural address this month.