Brazil Marijuana Ban Unconstitutional Federal Judge Says

Posted by | February 6, 2014 | News

brazil-flagA federal judge deemed Brazil’s ban on marijuana unconstitutional in a drug trafficking case. Some say could pave the way to reform.

In a case involving a small-time marijuana dealer, Judge Ernesto Frederico Cardoso Maciel ruled that marijuana laws are unconstitutional because they violate principles of equality, reports Brazilian media.

The judge, in his sentencing, claimed that the ban on marijuana was “the result of a backward culture and mistaken policy.”

He also noted the widespread acceptance of other recreational drugs like alcohol and tobacco.

“It seems incoherent that other narcotic substances, such as alcohol and tobacco, are not only permitted and sold, generating millions in profit for business owners, but worshiped and consumed by the population.”

Although the Ministry of Health lists THC as a banned substance, Maciel determined that the Ministry should be required to provide justification, which it so far has not.

The ruling does not change Brazilian law. However, Jurandir Soares de Carvalho Junior, the lawyer of the defendant, said it sets a precedent for discussing reform.

Maciel made the ruling last October, but the case has recently caused a stir among the legal community and has been placed in appeal by the Federal Court of Justice.

The case ended in the acquittal of the defendant, who had been caught with 46 grams of marijuana packaged for sale.

According to data collected in 2009, drug traffickers represent the second largest group of prisoners in Brazil, second only to those sentenced for armed robbery.

And despite growing support for reform, Brazilian lawmakers toughened drug trafficking penalties in response to Uruguay legalizing marijuana last mont.

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