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Brazil Supreme Court decriminalises possession of marijuana for personal consumption

The Supreme Court of Brazil ruled Tuesday to decriminalise possession of marijuana for personal use by a majority vote.

The nation’s highest court, in its official announcement expounding on the specifics of the session, stated that the judges also reached a consensus to dedicate an amount of money from the National Anti-Drug Fund that would be allocated to educational campaigns aimed at younger people, which would provide information about the harms of drug use. It added that the president of the court, Justice Luís Roberto Barroso, stressed that the decision does not normalise drug use and that the role of the State remains to combat drug trafficking and help drug users.

The judgement, in which the majority of the judges on the 11-member court voted in support of decriminalisation, does not legalise the possession of small quantities for personal use. Nevertheless, it will no longer be considered a crime. The selling of drugs, however, is still banned. The judges must yet rule on the maximum quantity of marijuana that may be considered for personal use, in addition to determining when the decision will take effect.

Brazilian lawmakers enacted a law in 2006 intending to broaden the legal distinction between drug users and traffickers. However, because the law does not establish a minimum quantity of drugs to distinguish between users and traffickers, more drug consumers have simply been prosecuted as traffickers. Critics of the existing law assert that this legislative gap is one of the main causes of the sharp increase in Brazil’s prison population over the last 20 years, as it became the country with the third-largest prison population in the world.

In Brazil, the use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes is legal but strictly limited. Other Latin American nations that have decriminalised possession of marijuana include Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.

Article: Brazil Supreme Court decriminalises possession of marijuana for personal consumption

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