Argentina Supreme Court decriminalizes marijuana

By Holyweed · Aug 26, 2009 · ·
  1. Holyweed
    The Argentina Supreme Court ruled Tuesday it is unconstitutional to punish an adult for private use of marijuana as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. Argentina becomes the second Latin American country in the past four days to allow personal use of a formerly illegal drug.

    The seven-member Argentina Supreme Court decision was unanimous, the court’s Web site said. The case in question involved five young men who were arrested for having a few marijuana cigarettes in their pockets. Supreme Court Justice Carlos Fayt, who at one time supported laws that make personal use of marijuana illegal, told the state-run Telam news agency that “reality” changed his mind.

    Argentina’s action came amid growing momentum in Latin America toward decriminalization. Mexico enacted a law Friday that decriminalizes possessing low quantities of most drugs, including marijuana, heroin, cocaine and LSD.

    Earlier this year, a Brazilian appeals court ruled that possession of drugs for personal use is not illegal. Peter Hakim, president of the Inter-American Dialogue policy institute in Washington, sees the shift in attitude toward drugs as recognition that current policy is not working. “It’s all part of a harm-reduction approach,” Hakim said, noting that policy is shifting toward figuring out how to reduce harm to the users and to society.


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  1. chillinwill
    The supreme court in Argentina has ruled that it is unconstitutional to punish people for using marijuana for personal consumption.

    The decision follows a case of five young men who were arrested with a few marijuana cigarettes in their pockets.

    But the court said use must not harm others and made it clear it did not advocate a complete decriminalisation.

    Correspondents say there is a growing momentum in Latin America towards decriminalising drugs for personal use.

    The Argentine court ruled that: "Each adult is free to make lifestyle decisions without the intervention of the state."

    Supreme Court President Ricardo Lorenzetti said private behaviour was legal, "as long as it doesn't constitute clear danger".

    "The state cannot establish morality," he said.

    The initiative has been supported by the government - Congress is expected to introduce amendments to the current drug laws.

    But the court said it was not advocating a complete decriminalisation of the drug - a move possibly aimed at deflecting criticism from the Church and conservatives, says the BBC's Candace Piette in Buenos Aires.

    The eight-page statement also called for a comprehensive policy against illegal drug trafficking.

    Health fears

    The move has been criticised by some campaign groups who say it will encourage damaging behaviour and lead to health problems.

    "There will be an increase in the drug trade and the people that fall into addiction will not, unfortunately, access treatment," Claudio Izaguirre, director of the Argentine Anti-drugs Association told Reuters.

    "My country doesn't have the necessary health coverage for what will happen," he said.

    Argentina's move follows rulings by several other countries across the region, including Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia.

    Last week, Mexico enacted a law decriminalising possession of small amounts of drugs, including cocaine and heroin - the country is in the midst of a drugs turf war which has claimed more than 11,000 lives in the last three years.

    The aim of such moves is to enable police to focus their efforts on the big criminals in the drugs trade rather than dealing with petty cases, says our correspondent.

    But it also marks a shift a dramatic regional shift to the decades-old US-backed policy of running repressive military-style wars on the drug trade, she adds.

    August 26, 2009
    BBC News
  2. Makesmefeelbig
    The Argentine court ruled that: "Each adult is free to make lifestyle decisions without the intervention of the state."

    Wow, I am utterly amazed that after a century of moralistic demonising of drugs and drug users, some governments in South America are finally starting to admit the blindingly obvious truth and alter the law accordingly.

    I have to wonder where this sudden change in stance has come from- is it simply that these governments have finally come around? Does it have anything to do with the increasing profile of drug users and political pressure from them? Or- no offence to south americans, I'm just a massive cynic- could it have something to do with bribes.

    Then again- who's gonna bribe politicians to move to decriminalise drugs? It's in the interest of organised crime to keep them illegal after all. So I guess it must be due, at least in small part, to the fact that more and more people are coming to realise the fallacy and hypocrisy of the War on Drugs- due partly to sites such as this one.
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