The leaders of several Latin American nations on the front lines of the battle against drugs say passage of a California ballot measure to legalize marijuana would send a contradictory message from the United States, the Associated Press reports. Next Tuesday’s ballot measure in California was a key topic as Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hosted the presidents of Mexico and three other countries at a one-day summit yesterday.
Santos said that if Californians approve Proposition 19, it would require reviewing the principles that have long underpinned efforts to combat drugs in Latin America with support from Washington. “How can I tell a farmer in my country that if he grows marijuana, I’ll put him in jail, when in the richest state of the United States it’s legal to produce traffic and consume the same product?” Santos said. A statement from the summit’s participants urged drug-consuming nations to form “consistent and congruent” anti-drug policies. “They cannot support criminalizing these activities in this or that country, while at the same time (supporting) the open or veiled legalization of the production and consumption of drugs in their own territories,” the declaration said.