The Federal Supreme Court (STF) resumed last week the trial of the decriminalization of drug possession for personal use. The analysis of the matter began in 2015 and, last Thursday (3), after Minister Alexandre de Moraes voted, the session was postponed again with four votes in favor of decriminalization.
In his vote, Alexandre de Moraes suggested that between 25 and 60 grams be the amount allowed per user. Minister Gilmar Mendes, who is the case’s rapporteur, asked for the postponement to formulate a new thesis on the case.
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Experts point out that the favorable decision may reduce the negative effects of the so-called “war on drugs”. This is explained by member of the National Network of Anti-Prohibitionist Feminists (Renfa), Fani Santos. For her, the impacts are even greater in Rio de Janeiro, especially for black and peripheral people.
“Any operation that takes place in the favelas is death and it is no coincidence that all these bodies that are dragged by the police and thrown into ‘caveirões’ are black bodies”, he says.
Fani believes that the debate in the STF is very important, even if it is a small step towards facing the stigma that drug users face. “So that we can talk about drug policy, about people who use drugs, because people who use drugs are demonized, but drugs have existed as long as the world exists. We need to deal with it, we need to inform people about those substances and not kill them, not trap them”, he explains.
Gilmar Mendes’ initial thesis proposes the decriminalization of all drugs, but there is still disagreement among ministers about the measure being only about marijuana.
The executive director of the Black Initiative for a New Policy on Drugs, Dudu Ribeiro, believes it is essential that the debate in the STF be about all drugs, as this is the only way to reduce the consequences of the “war on drugs”.
“The application of the law has widened racial disparities due to the dysfunctionality of the police and the justice system. It is essential that after the decision we are able to properly control this dysfunctionality or else it will have little effect on the lives of the people who suffer most today from the damage produced by the logic of the war on drugs”, he says.
increase in incarceration
The new Drug Law (Law 11.343/2006) replaced the 1976 rule and makes a distinction between user and drug dealer. Although drug trafficking leads to imprisonment with a minimum sentence of five years, users would only carry warnings, providing services to the community or obligation to comply with educational measures. However, the reality is different.
According to the director of the Brazilian Association of Mental Health (Abrasme), Chico Cordeiro, the model adopted to deal with users brings incarceration as one of the main impacts.
“Today there is already a good group of Brazilian research that says that most people who are considered traffickers are users, and that this ends up having an impact on the Brazilian penal system. And thinking further, the justice system arrives before other guarantee systems of rights, for example, the health system. If interventions related to health came first, it would most likely not have this consequence”, he concludes.
Source: BdF Rio de Janeiro
Editing: Mariana Pitasse