Menée par la campagne « Drug Law: It’s Time to Change » (Politiques antidrogues: l’heure du changement a sonné), le projet de loi sur la dépénalisation de la possession et de la culture de drogues contrôlées  destinées à l’usage personnel fut présenté la semaine dernière sur le forum de discussion électronique E-Democracia. Depuis son apparition sur le web, le projet de loi a suscité beaucoup d’intérêt. Pour en savoir plus, en anglais, veuillez lire les informations ci-dessous.

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Led by the national campaign “Drug Law: It’s Time to Change”, the draft bill aiming to decriminalize illicit drug possession and cultivation for personal use was presented last week in the online debate forum, E-Democracia. Since then, the bill has brought forth a wave of online followers. It’s 6,000 views and nearly 300 topics of discussion reveal the widespread interest that Brazilian citizens feel towards decriminalization and drug law reform.

According to Alessandra Müller, the manager of the E-Democracia Project for the Brazilian Chamber of Representatives, the percentage of people accessing the website is considered to be “very high”. As Müller highlights, “The amount of views is important data. For although people might not always interact, they are following the discussion.” “We value this point very much,” she added.

Drug law is also the principal topic being debated among the manifestos in the Federal Senate website, Alô Senado. 370 thousand web surfers participated in the Senate’s online poll about drug law, which was conducted from August 16th – 31st. Based on the pool of participants, 84.92% are in favor of the decriminalization of drug users and only 15.08% are against it. Having been elaborated by a group of jurists, the bill proposing decriminalization has been supported by diverse segments of Brazilian society, hence finding constituents among the Catholic and Evangelical church, as well as health-related sectors.

The draft bill was introduced online on August 22nd, once Paulo Gadelha, the president of the Brazilian Commission on Drugs and Democracy, and the representatives of the national campaign “Drug Law: It’s Time to Change” presented the draft bill to Marco Maia, the president of the Brazilian House of Represantatives, Upon the draft bill’s official presentation, over 100 thousand people had already voted in support of the bill. And, currently, there are over 120 thousand supporters.

Due to the draft bill’s polemic nature, Maia suggested to include the bill among the main proposals in the e-Democracia website. As he stated, “The draft bill should be placed in the website for 2 or 3 months. Afterwards, the bill should be properly presented at the National Congress.” Depending on the online turnout, a Federal Delegate could present the bill, or it could be proposed to the House of Representatives as a bill of popular initiative.

The proposal consists of decriminalizing the possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal consumption, with the objective of granting drug dependent people quality health treatment and a network of support. By drawing a clear and objective distinction between drug users and drug traffickers, drug dependent peoples could be aptly directed towards an evaluation committee, composed of social workers, doctors and psychologists. Moreover, the bill seeks a reevaluation of how criminal justice resources can be better oriented towards combating organized crime.

“The goal is for drug-related themes to stop being treated as a police issue, but rather as a health issue. Jail is not a place for drug dependent peoples, it is a place for criminals,” says Rubem César, the executive director of Viva Rio.

Drug Law: It’s Time to Change

Since the present drug law (11.343/2006) was implemented in 2006, the number of people imprisoned for carrying drugs has doubled, rising from around 60,000 to 120,000. This lack of clarity is resulting in the arrest of thousands of people who are not drug dealers, but users. Most of these prisoners have never committed any other crimes, have no ties to organized crime and were only carrying small quantities of drugs when arrested. To learn more about “Drug Law: It’s Time to Change”, click here. Make your voice heard! It’s time to change!

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