The legalization of the production, trade and use of marijuana was once again a topic under debate this Monday, August 11, at the Brazilian Senate’s Human Right Commission. The discussion is part of a series of public hearings, and aims to determine whether the issue will provide the subject of a new bill, taking into consideration a report to be drawn up by Senator Cristovam Buarque.
“I haven’t adopted a position. I’m not convinced of anything,” Buarque admitted. In his view, Brazil is losing its war on drugs. “We must look for other ways to tackle the problem, either by legalizing marijuana or by creating new tools that, without legalization, enable us to win this war”, he argued.
Activist Alamar de Carvalho, in turn, holds a very clear opinion on the issue: “We do not want marijuana legalized in our country; we do not accept the argument that says it’s beneficial to health as a medicine, through the transformation of its medicinal components into pills or capsules. That marijuana is beneficial to health is not an indisputable fact in the international medical community.”
On the other side of the debate is Filipe Marques, a student at the University of Brasília. He calls for changes in legislation. “It’s not about legalizing marijuana. It’s already legal. People consume it, regardless of whether or not it’s forbidden. But when it’s legal, the government’s given a chance to protect these people,” he stated.
Victor Dittz, another university student, said that the current policy “is inefficient, and there are several points for refuting any argument for prohibition, be it the unconstitutionality of the Law on Drugs, the denial of individual rights, or the medical interest.”
In the view of Nivio Nascimento, representative from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “For many years, drug policies focused on the reduction of supply by means of strategies aimed at repressing the use, possession and traffic of narcotics.
The fact is, reducing the demand has no longer been a priority, and that is reflected in strategies directed towards education, treatment and the social reintegration of users and drug dependents,” he said.
The debates at the Human Rights Commission of the Senate on the matter will continue. The next public hearing about the topic is slated for August 25.