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President Obama this weekend said “legalization is not the answer” to stemming the tide of illegal drugs. He spoke Saturday at a summit meeting of Western Hemisphere nations in Cartagena, Colombia.

Colombia’s leader, Juan Manuel Santos, asked whether there was a middle ground between all drug consumers going to jail, and legalization, The New York Times reports.

“I think it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are ones that are doing more harm than good in certain places,” President Obama responded. He added, “I personally, and my administration’s position, is that legalization is not the answer.”

He stated that if drug operations were allowed to function legally, they could dominate certain countries, which “could be just as corrupting if not more corrupting then the status quo.”

Mr. Santos said that despite tremendous effort and costs, the illicit drug business is prospering.

The United States has devoted tens of billions of dollars to reducing the demand for drugs in this country, Mr. Obama said.


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