Brazil moves closer to legalizing cannabis

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Another country has recognized the benefits cannabis has to offer and has moved to legalize cannabis for its constituents.

A Senate committee in Brazil approved a bill earlier this week that will allow for cultivating and using cannabis for medical conditions.

The bill has been approved by the Senate’s Social Affairs Committee, according to Marijuana Moment, but the legislation will still need to be passed in the Commission on Constitution and Justice before the Senate can vote on it. If it is approved by the Senate, it will still need approval from the Chamber of Deputies.

Brazil previously relaxed its cannabis laws in 2006, however, punishments still include community service as well as working through a drug education program, even if the cannabis is being used for medical reasons.

Senator Marta Suplicy wrote a letter supporting the proposed legislation saying that cannabis has demonstrated to treat “a wide range of conditions” and that this should not be taken lightly.

“We cannot relegate the issue to mere political discussion,” said Suplicy. “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.”

It’s likely that any potential cannabis industry in Brazil will face obstacles as Jair Bolsonaro, the president-elect of Brazil has expressed being against legalizing cannabis and has said that he plans to enforce strong laws against drug use.

Last year, Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Roberto Barroso called for the country to legalize country in order to suppress much of the gang violence in the country. There was to be a hearing in November about decriminalizing cannabis but it was suspended indefinitely.

“We cannot be certain that a progressive and cautious policy of decriminalization and legalization will be successful,” said Barroso in an editorial for The Guardian. “What we can affirm is that the existing policy of criminalization has failed. We must take chances; otherwise we risk accepting a terrible situation.”

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