So, in the same month that the UK Government is making political capital from attaching long prison sentences to several new drugs few people have even heard of, in a seemingly parallel universe not populated by drug warriors, other countries are queuing up to decriminalise personal possession of all drugs. Last week Mexico joined the growing list and today the Argentine Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling decriminalising drug possession for personal use.
The private actions of men which in no way offend public order or morality, nor injure a third party, are only reserved to God and are exempted from the authority of judges. No inhabitant of the Nation shall be obliged to perform what the law does not demand nor deprived of what it does not prohibit.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled that personal drug consumption is covered by that privacy clause stipulated in Article 19 of the Constitution since it doesn’t affect third parties. Questions still remain, though, on the extent of the ruling. However, the government of President Cristina Fernández has fully endorsed the Court’s decision and has vowed to promptly submit a bill to Congress that would define the details of the decriminalization policies.
According to some reports, Brazil and Ecuador are considering similar steps.
The case has been under consideration by the high court for almost a year. The Argentine federal government has been reviewing its drug laws with an eye toward abandoning repressive policies toward users and is waiting for this case to be decided to move forward with new legislative proposals.
Supreme Court Justice Carlos Fayt told the Buenos Aires Herald that the court had reached a unanimous position on decriminalization, but declined to provide further details.
A positive Supreme Court decision on decriminalization would ratify a number of lower court decisions in recent years that have found that the use and possession of drugs without causing harm to others should not be a criminal offense.see previous Transform blog coverage:
Drug policy reform in practice - useful new briefing from TNI on decriminlisation and other forms of reform in Europe and the America's