Landmark case in Brazil to test hard-line 'war on drugs'

The Supreme Court is weighing whether to decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs
Christian Science Monitor (US)
Friday, August 21, 2015

brasil-descriminalizaBrazil’s Supreme Court began hearing a landmark drug case that could change how drug users are punished. Conviction as a "user" in Brazil leads to a criminal record and increased penalties for any future crime, while conviction as a trafficker leads to a minimum of five years. The focus on total prohibition resulted in arbitrary sentencing and overcrowded prisons. Poorer Brazilians have taken a hit from sentencing guidelines that encourage classification of defendants by socioeconomic status, such as the neighborhood where they were arrested to determine if they are a user or a trafficker.