Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Brazil Supreme Court talks drug decriminalization

Brazilian Supreme Court Seriously Considering Decriminalizing Weed, All Illegal Drugs - Cedar Attanasio, Latin Times:

September 11, 2015 - "Do Brazilian citizens have the right to consume drugs? That’s the question being considered by the Brazil's highest court in a case that has challenged the constitutionality of laws punishing drug consumption.... In 2009, a man who was already in prison on a petty crime and an illegal firearms conviction was caught with a small quantity of marijuana, convicted and punished with an additional sentence....

"Arguments for the decriminalization of all drugs, not just marijuana were spearheaded this week by two of the 11 judges on the bench. In signaling his vote, judge Luís Roberto Barroso compared criminalization of personal drug use to a dictatorship. 'The state has every right to combat the use [of drugs], to mount media campaigns, to create warnings, but to punish [drug use] with imprisonment is a form of authoritarianism that prevents the individual from making individual choices,' Barroso said....

"If adopted as a majority opinion, Barroso’s ruling would decriminalize possession for personal use of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs. The government would still be allowed to punish possession related to drug trafficking.

"Barroso cited other countries that have experimented [with] the legalization of marijuana and other drugs in recent years, according to RedeBrazil. He explicitly cited the U.S., a leader in the global war on drugs that has not interfered with state-level efforts to legalize pot, as well as Brazil’s neighbor Uruguay and it’s colonial mother country Portugal -- where heroin use fell 50 percent after drugs were decriminalized.

"Judge Luiz Edson Fachin joined Barroso, voting to overturn the marijuana conviction. While he acknowledged the dangers of illegal drugs, Fachin argued that drug users were victims, not crimminals. 'Those dependant on drugs are victims and not the seed of the crime [and] should be received as sick people,' Fachin said, according to G1.

"Fachin also pointed out that the country’s existing attempts at prohibition had failed. 'To insist in a public policy that has not worked for so many decades is to close one’s eyes to reality,' he said....

"On Thursday, the judges decided to table their final verdict, citing the need for further discussion of how to define 'personal use.' Some have proposed specific quantities -- 25 grams of marijuana and 6 plants, for example -- while [others] argue that the legislature should determine what quantities."

Read more: http://www.latintimes.com/brazilian-supreme-court-seriously-considering-decriminalizing-weed-all-illegal-drugs-339385
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