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If only we had some kind of “Constitution”

That would be really cool.

They have one in Brazil, and seven former ministers of justice have sent a letter to the Supreme Federal Court.

Rio de Janeiro, April 16th, 2013.

To His Excelency Mr. Gilmar Ferreira Mendes
Minister of the Supreme Federal Court

Subject: Manifest for the unconstitutionality of the penal repression of drug possession for personal consumption.

Your Excelency Mr. Minister

Considering that Brazil is a constitutional State founded on the principles of human dignity and pluralism and that every citizen has the freedom to live as they deem, so long as said freedom does not interfere with that of a third, the criminalization of a behavior that is practiced within the sphere of an individual’s personal privacy and does not harm a third party is not legitimate.

For this, we the subscribers of this document- all having served as State Minister of Justice – manifest our position on the unconstitutionality of the penal repression of drug possession for personal consumption.

The failures of the war on drugs, based on the criminalization of the consumer, reveal the impropriety of the strategy used to this day. Treating drug users as citizens and offering them treatment and support by means of harm reduction, is more adequate than stigmatizing them as a criminals.

Experiences in Portugal, Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Italy, Germany, amongst others, have shown that the decriminalization of the use of narcotics is an important step towards rationalizing a policy that combats drug traffickers without transforming the primary victim of the illicit product into the object of penal persecution. Drug users deserve respect and access to dignified treatment, not time behind bars.

In response to the above, the subscribers of this document stand united behind the manifests stated in the case of Extraordinary appeal number 635.659, requesting this Court the recognition of the incompatibility of the crime of drug possession for personal consumption with the present constitutional model, which is based on human dignity, pluralism and the respect for personal privacy and that of the private lives of its citizens.

Tarso Genro
Ministro da Justiça, between 16/03/2007 and 10/02/2010
Mandato do Presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Aloysio Nunes Ferreira Filho
Minister of justice, between 14/11/2001 and 03/04/2002
Presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso

José Gregori
Minister of justice, between 14/04/2000 and 14/11/2001
Presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Márcio Thomaz Bastos
Minister of justice, between 01/01/2003 and 16/03/2007
Presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Miguel Reale Júnior
Minister of justice, between 03/04/2002 and 10/07/2002
Presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso

José Carlos Dias
Minister of justice, between 19/07/1999 and 14/04/2000
Presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Nelson Jobim
Minister of justice, between 01/01/1995 and 08/04/1997
Presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Impressive.

I wish our founding fathers had had the foresight to set up some kind of system that granted only limited powers to the government and preserved basic human rights.

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41 comments to If only we had some kind of “Constitution”

  • B. Snow

    I’m gonna bet theirs doesn’t have the same kind of cow excrement = “Interstate (Loop-hole they can drive giant *metaphorical* trucks through) Commerce Clause”…

  • jean valjean

    love the irony of your last sentence pete

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    I seem to recall hearing that citizens of the U.S.S.R. had quite a list of protected rights which the government just ignored.

    I’m not aware of anyone predicting that this might happen:

    Colombia’s capital banks on marijuana cure for hard drug addicts
    BY JIM WYSS

    BOGOTA, Colombia — Marijuana has long been accused of being a gateway to deadlier vices. But could cannabis be a swinging door that might also lead people away from hard drugs? That’s what this capital city is trying to find out.

    In coming weeks, Bogotá is embarking on a controversial public health project where it will begin supplying marijuana to 300 addicts of bazuco — a cheap cocaine derivative that generates crack-like highs and is as addictive as heroin.
    /snip/

    Now who the heck could have predicted that? But it’s right on time because every May I get to add another year to the now 24 years with no cocaine in my life. Silly me didn’t actually mark the specific date, but how was I to know that the cannabis was going to help so darn much?

    • divadab

      I agree – the “gateway theory” is a vicious lie – the exact opposite of the truth. Cannabis is a regulator that can help addicts wean themselves of dangerous addictions for a much more benign habit.

      Yes, marijuana is a gateway drug – a gateway OFF harmful addictive substances. To deprive people of this magnificent natural medicine is cruel and stupid already but to justify it with a disgusting lie is the epitome of evil.

      • DdC

        Organic aid for cocaine addiction – 01/28/04
        ☛Scientists Test Hallucinogens for Mental Ills
        ☛For Heroin Addicts, A Bizarre Remedy, ibogaine
        ☛Ayahuasca Healing Session
        ☛Natural Help For Depression
        ☛Weil Says LSD Cured His Allergy
        ☛Andrew Weil on medical uses of Ecstasy, MDMA

        Marijuana Could Help Cocaine Addicts Kick Habit October 04, 2001
        Smoking marijuana could help prevent recovering cocaine addicts relapsing, research on rats suggests.

        Information on Salvia and Dynorphin
        Research has revealed that Salvia Divinorum is the ONLY source of Salvinorin A, the ONLY diterpenoid compound known to have activity at the kappa-opioid receptor, which reduces the need for and dosage of addictive mu-opioids.

        The Ibogaine Story:
        Report on the STATEN ISLAND PROJECT

        Marijuana May Live Up To Be The Elixir of Life
        A study by University of Saskatchewan researchers suggests beneficial aspects of smoking marijuana at least among rats, who appear to have sprouted new brain cells and besides benefiting from reduced depression and anxiety.

  • Matthew Meyer

    Viva o Brasil!

    But remember, they still have a hard time doing Marijuana Marches without the courts shutting them down, saying they’re encouraging people to break the law.

  • Duncan20903

    Arizona prohibitionist employs tactical method favored by middle eastern terrorists against soon to open medicinal cannabis vendor: linky

    • allan

      Obviously the attempt was well planned and executed.

      “Ok Vern, drive towards the building and then set the car on fire while you’re still in it. That’ll teach them stupid hippies.”

      Those cement block buildings are just sooo flammable.

      • Burn baby, burn

        .
        .

        IIRC you just need to get them to about 8000˚ F and they burn just fine.

        One minor edit to your effort if you don’t mind:

        Ok Vern, drive towards the building and then set the car on fire while you’re still in it. That’ll teach them stupid hippies.”

        “You better believe it! Here, hold my beer…”

    • jean valjean

      gut tells me he is LE

    • Servetus

      Kingman, Arizona, has a peculiar history. Now little more than a desert speed-trap, its leading families were once polygamous Mormons. It’s located geographically within the American polygamist belt. During the nuclear testing era in the 50s and 60s, it was the recipient of wind-driven nuclear testing fallout that in at least one instance fell like snowflakes from the sky.

      The U.S. Government informed the ever-gullible Kingman residents they had absolutely nothing to worry about. Radiation was a good thing. The community, being mostly patriotic Amurrikans, dutifully believed their government. Children were delighted their clothes glowed pink in the dark. A short distance away, a film crew and actor John Wayne were making a motion picture. Years later, John Wayne and dozens of Kingman residents, including temporary workers, would be dead from cancer.

      So it makes perfect sense that on May 5, 2013, an inbred polygamist would cause a burning car to roll into a cinderblock wall simply because the U.S. government has assured him that marijuana is a deadly scourge that helps treat some types of cancer and many other diseases and therefore must be eliminated from the face of the earth.

      • divadab

        Your comment is very offensive to polygamists. I mean, Abraham, Jacob, Solomon, and all the other Bible-time forefathers are spinning in their graves at your misdirection – this is a story about federal government bad behavior and you have used it to insult gratuitously an ‘out-group”, IMHO completely unnecessarily and to the detriment of your main point.

        Here’s a community damaged by US government nuclear fallout, through the generations (how many miscarriages, how many weird birth defects, were caused by fallout?), and now damaged by US government lies and oppression of users of a plant deemed worthy of genocide by a government in the pay of monopoly capitalist interests. And your response is to insult the people suffering from the damage.

        Give your head a shake.

        • Servetus

          They’re their own victims. The manner in which polygamists conduct themselves in the United States encourages the complete victimization and exploitation of women, as well as their individual family members. The cult limits its educational levels to the 8th grade, relegating its members to the level of know-nothings that include climate deniers.

          Tapping into the state welfare fund to support families abandoned by polygamous male patriarchs is a common practice found in Mormon polygamous colonies. Young males can find themselves gratuitously kicked out of their community and ostracized by their family, just to limit the number of males within the colony. And polygamists, like many straight Mormons, hate pot smokers, drug users, etc. If you really want to understand just how pathological Mormon polygamy is in the U.S., check out Jon Krakauer’s best-selling book, Under the Banner of Heaven.

          As for Abraham, Jacob and Solomon, it’s doubtful they would have gotten very far in the 21st century as polygamists. They can roll in their graves all they want.

        • divadab

          This thread isn’t about polygamists. It’s about prohibition and its effects. That you chose to take the opportunity to ride your own anti-polygamy bandwagon with smear and insult is what I take issue with.

          I’m not sure why you seem to think Abraham, Jacob and SOlomon wouldn’t get far in the 21st century. You might find that they would do just fine in the many countries comprising about a third of the world’s population where Abrahamic polygamy is still practiced.

          As to Mormons, it is indeed unfortunate that they, as loyal, believing people, believe the lies of the federal government in support of cannabis prohibition. Let they that have eyes to see, see.

        • Servetus

          I don’t have a problem with polygamists per se, unless they create victims. In the case of domestic U.S. polygamists, they do create victims. And if they also promote prohibition, then they deserve the same criticism I would give any prohibitionist entity, including the Vatican, which has its own problems with marital relationships.

        • darkcycle

          It just so happens my old long gone friend, Dean Vest was killed by Ervil LeBaron and a bunch of psychotic Mormon Polygamists, Diva. Servetus is right. They are a deviant, inbred and violent lot who really are the scum of the scum of the earth. You can Google “Ervil LeBaron” and get the whole sordid story of the LeBaron murders. They made a movie about him. Dean’s was the first murder in the beginning of the movie.
          Dean was an exceptional man, both for his physical size, and the size of his heart.

        • Duncan20903

          Good god, more than one?!? That’s just nucking futz!

  • N.T. Greene

    I’m pretty sure most Americans don’t even know what the Constitution is. We are woefully bad at teaching history in this country because, God, if we did… people might realize how the typical “conservative” approach involves repeating the same mistakes and the typical “liberal” approach involves repeating the same mistakes but in a different way.

  • Plant Down Babylon

    I only believe it if Faux news tells me about it.

    None of the major network news stations have told me about this so called ‘constitution’, so I don’t believe it exists.

    Sounds like a tea party thing.

    Where do you people dig this stuff up?

  • Ben

    Whatever. Another long list of politicians who no longer hold power, decrying the policies they enthusiastically enforced back when they had power. The people administering the Brazilian constitution are acting no differently than our American lawmakers.

  • yahoo

    Interesting. Preserved basic human rights. Like slavery, and 3/5th of people. Those Founders were so awesome, Pete. Indeed, they had pretty poor foresight, considering what you want is the Articles, which failed.

    Although the fact remains that our Constitution is pretty piss-poor. Anyway, good on them for supporting ending the drug war this way, whether they’re correct or not I do not know (I don’t know what Brazil’s constitution states). You’re not doing your cause any good by making stupid, snarky comments in relation, however.

    • jean valjean

      pete’s comments on gov blindness to the constitution are indeed snarky, with justification, but please explain why they are “stupid”

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        jean, it seems some people think it appropriate to demand perfection on the first try, despite the fact that it’s never happened. yahoo not only doesn’t appear to realize that the 3/5ths part of the Constitution was a compromise needed to get the thing adopted, I’ll bet he doesn’t even know that the anti-slavery population wanted the slaves to count at 0/5ths. He may not even understand that the 3/5ths thing was only for calculating the number of representatives of a State in Congress, that there was no implication that the slaves were somehow only 3/5ths human. He probably doesn’t even understand how it was the Constitution that led to the eventual abolition of slavery. Regardless of the political reality, he sees the Constitution as inherently flawed because it didn’t cause abolition in 1788.

    • claygooding

      And of course,,the banks are the largest lobbyist to congress,,of course they oppose legalization of marijuana,,,as Kap said,,follow the banks link to our presidents and contributions to legislators.

    • kaptinemo

      It always stands to reason that the biggest supporters of prohibition would be its’ greatest financial (and therefore, political ) benefactors. And at the very top of the beneficiaries food chain are the international banks. Which have become, not multi-national, but quasi-national, themselves…with their own version of ‘diplomatic immunity’.

      Just look at recent events: major international banks, some of them US-based and supposedly subject to US law, have been caught red-handed laundering drug money. But all they do is pay (comparatively) piddling fines, and the heads of those banks sleep soundly in their luxurious beds in their palatial homes while a street dealer rots in prison. No bankster has done the perp-walk yet, not merely for the money laundering but for the trashing of the world economy as well, partly because of that ‘diplomatic immunity’.

      Needless to say, as the old saying goes, when a fish rots, it starts with the head. The rot caused by prohibition doesn’t start in the gutter but at the pinnacle of power…where the money is.

  • Freeman

    O/T: News flash: Mark Kleiman hypes the harms of cannabis dependency but doesn’t seem interested in discussing comparisons with other commonly-used drugs that a great number of people develop dependencies on that people consider largely harmless, like caffeine. He’d rather discuss it alongside alcohol and tobacco dependency: “Cannabis dependency isn’t typically as bad as alcohol dependency, but it’s hardly a walk in the park”. Go figure.

    He might as well have said “A paper cut isn’t typically as bad as a decapitation, but it’s hardly a walk in the park”. Fear-mongering at it’s finest.

    • claygooding

      link not working

    • Nanacyclo/Tetramantony

      Kleiman removes any science that does not support his bigotry; I’m posting this there for the second time:

      An ever-growing body of scientific research clearly demonstrates that Marijuana is less addictive than a cup of tea.

      http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/basicfax5.htm

      Dr. Jack E. Henningfield of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Dr. Neal L. Benowitz of the University of California at San Francisco ranked six psychoactive substances on five criteria.

      Withdrawal — The severity of withdrawal symptoms produced by stopping the use of the drug.

      Reinforcement — The drug’s tendency to induce users to take it again and again.

      Tolerance — The user’s need to have ever-increasing doses to get the same effect.

      Dependence — The difficulty in quitting, or staying off the drug, the number of users who eventually become dependent

      Intoxication — The degree of intoxication produced by the drug in typical use.

      The tables listed below show the rankings given for each of the drugs. Overall, their evaluations for the drugs are very consistent. It is notable that marijuana ranks below caffeine in most addictive criteria, while alcohol and tobacco are near the top of the scale in many areas.

      The rating scale is from 1 to 6 — 1 denotes the drug with the strongest addictive tendencies, while 6 denotes the drug with the least addictive tendencies.

      HENNINGFIELD RATINGS

      Withdrawal Reinforcement Tolerance Dependence Intoxication

      Nicotine 3 4 2 1 5

      Heroin 2 2 1 2 2

      Cocaine 4 1 4 3 3

      Alcohol 1 3 3 4 1

      Caffeine 5 6 5 5 6

      Marijuana 6 5 6 6 4

      BENOWITZ RATINGS

      Withdrawal Reinforcement Tolerance Dependence Intoxication

      Nicotine 3 4 4 1 6

      Heroin 2 2 2 2 2

      Cocaine 3 1 1 3 3

      Alcohol 1 3 4 4 1

      Caffeine 4 5 3 5 5

      Marijuana 5 6 5 6 4

    • strayan

      No, dammit, tea is not harmless!

      According to a study published in the British Medical Journal:

      “Drinking hot tea, a habit common in Golestan province, was strongly associated with a higher risk of oesophageal cancer.”

      http://www.bmj.com/content/338/bmj.b929

      “The abuse of tea has taken on the characteristics of a plague. It is not only confined to men, but has even spread to women and children. The situation is becoming very dangerous. Tea abuse…takes the form of an imperious and irresistible craving.

      — a Tunisian physician in the 1930s, commenting on the effects of tea when it first arrived in his country. Cited in The Economist (August 8, I 2002).”

      http://www.pcohen.nl/lib/documents/reinarman.crack.pdf

  • Duncan20903

    Gosh, how many times do we have to prove that Prof Kleiman is a big fat liar? Can’t we just file that in the 2+2=4 category and move on?

    • Awaiting/moderation

      Not half as much fun 🙂

    • claygooding

      everything he uses as his arguments points out he is the last person you would want “helping” to establish a legal market,,I still say he was shoved down the governors throat at his meeting with Holder earlier this year.