The country has also introduced new laws to support distribution infrastructure. People over the age of 18 could grow up to six marijuana plants at home or join a “cannabis club,” similar to dispensaries in the United States. Billions of dollars have funded a strategy that focuses on destroying the cocaine trade at its source: the fields of rural Colombia. U.S. training and intelligence agencies have advanced Colombia`s decades-long military efforts to eradicate cocaine, the staple cultivation of cocaine, and dismantle drug trafficking groups. And yet, more than half a century after President Richard M. Nixon declared drugs America`s “public enemy number one,” Colombia`s trade has reached record levels. Coca cultivation has tripled in the past decade, according to U.S. figures.
Around the world, governments` difficulties in responding effectively to COVID-19 have weakened the legitimacy of states and governments in many ways – again, to the benefit of illegal economies and their sponsors. COVID-19 has shifted more power from states to criminal and militant groups. Even more dangerous, COVID-19 and government responses have also strengthened the very economies (illegal and legal) that are critical sources of the emergence of zoonotic diseases and catastrophic global pandemics – namely wildlife poaching and trade, logging and mining. Logging in Brazil and the Amazon has not slowed down; Their illegal and legal elements have intensified. In both countries, powerful resource extraction lobbies have managed to either pass new laws to overcome environmental concerns to allow for greater habitat destruction (accelerating the rate and extent of viral fallout); or allowing loggers to benefit from more permissive hiring with minimal or no enforcement measures. Poaching has also increased as rangers are deprived of government salaries or ecotourism has collapsed, and desperate populations have lost legal income in rural areas or cities and moved to rural areas where they engage in poaching and logging. Instead, the correct response of the state would be to prioritize the safe delivery of goods and services to communities selected for legal rural development efforts and minimize access for violent trafficking groups. In August 2009, Argentina`s Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision that it was unconstitutional to prosecute citizens for drug possession for personal use – “adults should be free to make life choices without state intervention.”  The decision concerned the second paragraph of Article 14 of the National Drug Control Legislation (Law No. 23.737), which punishes possession of drugs for personal use with prison sentences ranging from one month to two years (although education or treatment may replace punishment). The unconstitutionality of the section concerns cases of possession of drugs for personal use that do not concern others.   In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize the production, distribution and consumption of marijuana.
Pharmacies began selling marijuana directly to consumers in 2017. Vanda Felbb-Brown: Organized crime and illicit economies are extremely diverse, very dynamic, adaptable and innovative, and innovation often emerges in response to law enforcement. Illicit economies include a wide range of goods and services, including some of the most notorious drug trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, illegal logging and mining, poaching and wildlife trafficking, smuggling, cybercrime, arms smuggling and money laundering. Other niche activities include smuggling weapons of mass destruction, stealing gasoline or oil, stealing and smuggling water, and, most recently in the COVID era, selling counterfeit medical devices. Almost all of these economies operate worldwide. But one of the big illegal economies is old-fashioned blackmail – whether by criminal groups or militant actors. Extortion is the type of crime where predatory and transactional illegal economies intersect; Corruption is another. In an interview, Bolivar told CNN that it was hypocritical for the U.S. to legalize marijuana at home and support drug wars abroad, such as in Colombia, where Washington sends millions of dollars each year to arm and train Colombian forces in their fight against cartels. While there have been changes in the types and patterns of illicit economies, the types of trafficking – drug shipments higher than smurfs; increased use of drones for illicit trade; accelerating the transition to synthetic drugs; a temporary decrease in predatory street crime and a sharp increase in online crime, followed by a further increase in predatory crime – the power of criminal groups has increased significantly due to COVID-19: both their political capital and often their physical abilities. “We could, for example, conclude a small treaty in our countries to amend the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs and raise the first flag of legalization in the world; Other countries could follow,” the senator said.
Nevertheless, high levels of violence permeate all patterns of crime in Latin America – from street robberies to crimes against natural resources. In East Asia, illegal logging, often perpetrated by large logging or agricultural companies, may be more violent than drug trafficking, but the level of violence is still rarely higher than dozens of people killed. The coronavirus-COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps due to an illegal economy – wildlife trade (but perhaps also legal wildlife trade) – brings with it a new dynamic while reinforcing other trends. Generally speaking, I believe the policy should be to keep most illegal illegal drugs, with the exception of cannabis. The commercialization of “hard drugs” will trigger substance use disorders on a scale that an illegal market cannot: it will destroy the lives of many individuals, families and communities. However, drug policy should not imprison non-violent users of illicit drugs. The policy should be to significantly expand access to treatment and harm reduction programs. Supply-side policies should include enforcement strategies to reduce violence and minimize the most dangerous flows, such as synthetic opioids. In addition to trying to reduce the propensity of criminal groups to use violence through strict law enforcement measures, smart drug policy design involves prioritizing the prosecution of low-labour illicit economies such as the trafficking or production of synthetic drugs. and to postpone action on the labour-intensive aspects of the illicit drug economy – namely the cultivation of drug crops – until legal livelihoods are available. In any case, for a public or anti-crime policy to be effective, it must be adapted to local cultural and institutional circumstances.
But all economies, including legal economies, need effective law enforcement. And, as I have already indicated, legalisation alone is an inadequate mechanism for strengthening the rule of law. Not all illegal activities should be legalised either: I believe, for example, that there are good reasons to ban unhygienic commercial markets for fresh meat from wild animals – but with the exception of the need for subsistence for wild animal meat in forest-dependent communities, where this exemption must be combined with strict monitoring, the detection of zoonoses and the enforcement of trade and trade outside these exceptional areas. Unhygienic commercial markets for live animals or wild meat, which are abundant in Asia but also emerging in Latin America, such as Peru and Brazil, fueled by the legal and illegal wildlife trade, are simply too dangerous to be legal.