A recent report filed by top senators has asked the State Department to explain how the billions in funding that was injected into various counter-narcotics programs across Latin America were used, as these programs haven’t yielded results. The report also calls out the federal government over the failed war on drugs.
The report is part of the bill to finance the federal government that Chairman Patrick Leahy of the Senate Appropriations Committee introduced a couple of days ago.
The panel stated that the incidence of corruption and violence related to drug trafficking in Latin America has increased steadily since the 1980s when various counter-narcotics programs were introduced. The use and availability of illicit drugs in the United States is also high. The panel noted that despite these failures, the strategies used by different U.S. administrations since the inception of these programs remain unchanged.
The report directs the secretary of state to compile and present a report that assesses the reasons why prior efforts haven’t met the expectations as well as the cost-benefit analysis of previous counter-narcotics initiatives in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru.
The committee is also seeking a description of the objectives and projected results of the present strategy, how the present strategy is different from past efforts and any necessary changes in the United States domestic counter-narcotics policies. This, it stated, would allow strategies that decrease the production and trafficking of illegal drugs and related corruption and violence in Latin America to succeed.
This draft Appropriations Committee report will be attached to the 2022 fiscal year spending bill for the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. It remains unclear when the measures will be considered and officially approved by the panel.
If the measure is enacted, it would allow Washington D.C. to legalize recreational cannabis sales. It would also encourage the development of technologies that can identify THC-impaired driving and request the federal government to reconsider policies that require employees be fired for marijuana use. In addition, the measure criticizes the current restrictive system for classifying drugs, which hinders scientific research on marijuana.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a similar amendment in the House’s version of the spending legislation, which was recently passed. The measure calls for banning the use of funds for aerial fumigation on illicit crops in Colombia. Aerial fumigation has been widely criticized by human rights and reform advocates.
The step taken by the Senate committee could trigger a rethink of the country’s drug policies and maybe even kick-start a process through which cannabis may be rescheduled federally, ending one of the biggest hurdles that the industry and its sector players, such as Hero Technologies Inc. (OTC: HENC), have had to navigate.
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