The promotion of cannabis for medical and other purposes is “a different story” than cocaine, which among other things is terrible for the environment.

Colombian President Iván Duque has high hopes for the medical marijuana industry in a country that has been waging a costly war against a different drug — cocaine — for decades.

But in an interview with The Associated Press during a visit to Israel, he said the promotion of cannabis for medical and other purposes is “a different story” than cocaine, which among other things is terrible for the environment.

“In order to plant one hectare of coca in Colombia, two hectares of tropical jungle are destroyed,” he said. “The other thing is that to produce cocaine you have a very high carbon footprint. You use a lot of gasoline, a lot of cement,” and processing chemicals get dumped in the forest.

There’s also the murderous drug kingpins — one of whom was nabbed just last month on a U.S. warrant— cartel violence and the scattered remnants of the FARC rebel group who have fought on despite a landmark peace agreement reached five years ago.

But fresh from the U.N. climate summit, where Colombia pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2050, and the opening of a Colombian innovation center in Jerusalem, Duque was keen to discuss how Colombia and Israel — self-styled “start-up nations” — could collaborate to make the world a better place.

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