Brazilian Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Bill
Brazil is the latest country to make progress in the legalization of medical marijuana, as a major Senate committee in Brazil approved the bill to permit the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes on Wednesday, November 28.
People from South America have a long tradition of using marijuana. Uruguay, for example, has gone all in and has legalized the plant for both medical and recreational use.
Other countries, such as Peru or Ecuador, are quite weed-friendly even though cannabis production and sales remain illegal there.
But Brazil… Brazil is an entirely different story.
The country is known to have some of the most backward cannabis laws in South America — but the newly approved bill holds a great promise for even greater changes.
Brazilian Lawmakers Have Finally Listened to the People
Brazilian citizens have been struggling to establish more civilized marijuana laws in their country. Although the government slightly reduced the severity of penalties for marijuana-related offenses, medical users could still be flagged by authorities and thus face a range of legal consequences.
As it turns out, Brazilians have finally broken the glass ceiling.
What will most likely go into effect very soon is the result of an online citizen-led petition that received around 119,000 votes.
The Senate Committee signed off on the document that would remove criminal penalties for cultivating, possessing, and consuming cannabis for patients who get their marijuana from doctors.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Brazil Yet?
Not exactly — at least not until the aforementioned measure goes through several mandatory procedures.
First, it will need to be approved by the Commission on Constitution and Justice.
Once the Senate passes the bill, it must be further accepted by the Chamber of Deputies.
Even if the bill makes it past all legislative struggles, it could hit another glass ceiling: Brazil’s president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, who is strongly against cannabis legalization and has promised to enforce draconian anti-drug laws.
What This Means for Further Marijuana Legalization Efforts
Brazil is to follow the pattern embraced by countries which have already legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. The decriminalization of medical weed could pave the way for future amendments in favor of the herb.
In order for this to happen, Brazilian lawmakers have to engage in a discourse with researchers, doctors, patients, and cannabis advocates over the benefits and social impact of the legalization.
Senator Marta Suplicy expressed her support for the bill in an open letter, claiming that evidence shows cannabis to be an effective treatment option for a wide range of conditions — from chronic pain to autoimmune diseases and epilepsy.
“ We cannot relegate the issue to mere political discussion. More than anything, we need to empathize and put ourselves in the place of the other. In this way we can, as legislators, defend the true essence of health care, which is to mitigate human suffering,” said Suplicy underlying the importance of taking the issue seriously.
The Future of Legal Weed In Brazil Looks Brighter Than Ever
Source: BRIGHT Magazine
Brazil loosened its cannabis laws in 2006, but those who used the herb for therapeutic purposes could still face financial punishment in court and participate in a drug education program.
The newly introduced bill would protect medical patients and, at the same time, trigger the discussion on the advantages of the plant’s health benefits over its few negligible side effects.
Earlier this year, the leader of Brazil’s Labor Party in the lower House chamber introduced a bill that would fully legalize marijuana in the country. If the law went to effect, it would establish a regulated commercial cannabis market and allow Brazilian residents to cultivate up to six plants for personal use.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for Brazil!
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About James Reed
James Reed is the founder and editor-in-chief at iSum. He’s a big advocate of marijuana and spent most of his time writing about these topics, sharing what he learned over the years.