The use of punishments such as incarceration for those involved in the illicit drug trade has long been relied upon a deterrent. However, it has resulted in the imposition of disproportionate sentencing (including the use of the death penalty) and overcrowded prisons, with high risks to health, social cohesion and human rights. Some countries and jurisdictions are now moving towards decriminalisation, alternatives to prison and the regulation of some markets.
Bolsonaro’s potential drug policies are ideologically rooted in broader social bigotry. He has a long track record of advocating a military dictatorship, publicly disparaging women, gay people and Afro-Brazilian and indigenous communities.