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Brazil: Former President Discusses Marijuana Decriminalization

(Feb. 23, 2009) Former Brazilian President Fernando Henique Cardoso suggested during a meeting of the Latin-American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, which is composed of former presidents of Latin America and other distinguished members of the public, that it is necessary to start to assess the convenience of decriminalizing the possession of marijuana for personal use, given the fact that many countries have already done so. The meeting took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on February 11, 2009.

Cardoso further noted that he personally considers the use of marijuana harmful, even if the user is no longer treated as a criminal. According to Cardoso, decriminalization for personal use alone is not enough. It is necessary to implement several other policies, including programs for prevention and decrease in the use of the drug, he stated, otherwise the decriminalization will only increase the use of marijuana.

A report on the meeting is expected to be forwarded to the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States. It will ask for changes in their policies designed to fight drug trafficking, as at present those policies are failing in Latin America. (Fernando Henrique Defende Estudo Sobre DescriminalizaĆ§Ć£o da Maconha, JURID, Feb. 12, 2009, available at