Sitting in the bedroom of her home in one of Bogota's well-heeled neighborhoods, Alicia Fajardo takes a deep toke of a marijuana joint and exhales the thick smoke. With that breath, Fajardo is exercising a right granted her by Colombia's Constitutional Court.
But it's a right that President Alvaro Uribe believes is wrong.
The Colombian Congress this month will begin discussing a bill introduced by the government that would prohibit possession of any drug and would punish addicts and drug users with mandatory clinical treatment.
The bill would overturn a 1994 Constitutional Court sentence which ruled that prohibiting the use of drugs violated the right to "free development of personality" set forth in Colombia's constitution. Since then, adults can possess up to 20 grams of marijuana and one gram of cocaine for consumption in the privacy of their homes.
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The latest drug-use survey, conducted by the Uribe administration last year and released in February, showed 2.3 percent of Colombians admitted using marijuana at least once in the past year, while less than 1 percent admitted using cocaine in the last 12 months. In the United States, 5.8 percent used marijuana and 0.8 percent used cocaine, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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