Cannabis regulation and fiscal policy: Opportunities for human rights in Colombia
Cannabis regulation is a foreseeable scenario in Colombia’s fraught drug policies. But without the adequate framework, it can lead to deepening pre-existing inequalities of populations involved. The Principles for Human Rights in Fiscal Policy offer guidance to incorporate mechanisms to ensure that the market generates revenue and it’s allocated towards the goals of regulation itself: protecting public health, weakening organized crime, and promoting rural development. A comparative analysis of existing fiscal policies of regulated cannabis markets across the world was performed. With the analytical standpoint of the Principles for Human Rights in Fiscal Policy, combined with an in-depth analysis of Colombia’s trajectories and realities of marihuana markets, a set of principles for a regulated cannabis market are suggested.
The analysis concludes that the model that can better suit the goals of protecting human rights through fiscal policies is a State regulated, market operated scenario, with a set of taxes towards cannabis products. The income generated from such taxation is to be directed towards public health programs, rural development initiatives in conflict affected areas, and the operation of regulation authorities.
The use of fiscal policy based in human rights principles in regulated cannabis markets is a powerful tool to achieve in a more effective and coherent way regulation’s objectives of protecting public health and repairing victims of prohibition. Evidence-based use of taxes and public spending adapted to the Colombian context will discourage mechanisms of high potency cannabis products and will provide resources to finance reparation policies to specific communities.