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Brazil's Shocking Move: Supreme Court Decriminalizes Personal Weed Use – What You Need to Know?

BRASILIA – Brazil’s Supreme Court made a groundbreaking decision on Tuesday, voting to decriminalize the possession of marijuana for personal use after a lengthy and divisive trial. This move represents a significant shift in the country's approach to drug policy.

Eight out of the 11 judges on Brazil’s top court voted in favor of considering the possession of small amounts of cannabis an “illicit act,” but not one punishable by criminal proceedings. Court president Luis Roberto Barroso declared, “We have a majority” to determine that “possession of cannabis for personal use is an illicit act” but not “of a criminal nature.”

One of the critical aspects of the decision still under debate is the amount of marijuana that distinguishes a casual user from a trafficker. Proposed thresholds range from 25 grams to 60 grams, with Barroso stating that a final decision on this matter will be announced on Wednesday.

The ruling builds on a 2006 law that removed prison sentences for drug possession but left ambiguity regarding what constitutes personal use versus trafficking. This ambiguity has historically allowed police, prosecutors, and judges to interpret the law, often resulting in harsher penalties for minor possession.

Supreme Court Judge Alexandre de Moraes, in his August vote for decriminalization, emphasized that current laws disproportionately affect young people, particularly black individuals, who are often treated as drug traffickers for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

The decriminalization decision faces strong opposition from Brazil’s powerful conservative movements, which are staunchly against any form of marijuana decriminalization. In April, the conservative-majority Senate approved a bill that aims to make the possession of any amount of drugs a constitutional offense. This amendment will soon be debated in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies.

The medicinal use of cannabis remains a contentious issue in Brazil. Patients seeking treatments based on CBD, the non-psychotropic molecule of cannabis, often have to obtain court permission for use, especially for severe forms of epilepsy.

Brazil joins a global trend where several countries have decriminalized recreational cannabis use, reducing or eliminating prison sentences for users. However, full legalization remains rare. Uruguay legalized recreational cannabis in 2013, and Germany recently became the largest EU country to do so, alongside Malta and Luxembourg.

Brazil’s Supreme Court decision marks a significant step in the country’s drug policy reform, focusing on decriminalizing personal marijuana use. This decision, while controversial, aligns Brazil with a growing number of nations rethinking their approach to cannabis regulation.

Do you support Brazil’s Supreme Court decision to decriminalize the possession of marijuana for personal use?

  • Yes, it's a positive step for drug policy reform.

  • No, it could lead to more drug use and societal issues.

  • Unsure, need more information.


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