The seven members of the court were unanimous in ruling that it is unconstitutional to punish people for holding small amounts of marijuana for personal consumption. The court decided that each adult is free “to make lifestyle decisions without the intervention of the state”. However, it stressed that this did not signify a general decriminalisation of the drug, and called on the government to develop new policies to combat drug trafficking.
The decision came after a case where five young adults were arrested in Rosario for each having three marijuana cigarettes in their pockets, reports national daily Clarín. The accused were not smoking in public nor displaying the drug openly, and therefore deemed by the court not to be “causing harm to third parties”.
The government spoke of its support for the ruling, but some opposition members expressed concern. The Governor of Tucumán, José Alperovich, argued that “now it will be easier to gets drugs and they will sell more”, while the church stated that the decision sent a “contradictory, harmful message to youngsters”, reports Perfil.
Judge Carlos Fayt said that the supreme court had “done it’s part” and it was now time for the government and Congress to “do what they need to do”, La Nación reports. Former minister for justice and human rights, Gil Lavedra, told Radio 10 that the ruling left a “legal hole” that legislators needed to fill quickly by determining “what quantity of drugs is considered to be for personal consumption”.
The court ruling also included a call for the government to implement “a state policy against drug trafficking and preventative health measures, with information and education about drug consumption, focused on the most vulnerable groups, especially minors”.