Policeman looks at a marijuana plant (Photo: National Police)

Colombia’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday that carrying amounts of drugs that “slightly” exceed the legally allowed dose is also no legal reason to detain a person.

The court made the ruling in an appeal case called by a Bogota man who was caught, sentenced and sent to prison for carrying 2.2 grams of cocaine and 51.8 grams of marijuana.

Colombian law allows an individual to carry no more than one gram of cocaine or 20 grams of marijuana, which led a Bogota court to conclude the suspect broke the law and had to spend three years and three months in prison, and pay a $1000 dollar fine.

However, in his final appeal, the suspect found an ally in the Supreme Court that ruled that “the quantity of drugs carried by the consumer in this case, being slightly higher that what is legally allowed, is not punishable” with a prison sentence.

The Supreme Court ruled that in similar cases, when a suspect is arrested carrying “slightly” more than allowed, there should be an individual approach to determine whether the suspect is trafficking drugs or carrying drugs for personal consumption.

According to the court, it took its decision keeping in mind that “there exists a global tendency towards the decriminalization of the carrying and consumption of personal doses of drugs.”

Specifically in the case of marijuana, global legislation has changed over the past decade. Marijuana has been legalized by a number of US states and Uruguay, while in Europe an increasing number of countries have decriminalized the consumption and carrying of marijuana.


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