By DEBORA ALVARES
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — A top court in Brazil on Tuesday authorized three patients to grow cannabis for medical treatment, a decision that is likely to be applied nationwide in similar cases.
A five-judge panel of the country’s Superior Court of Justice unanimously agreed that the three patients can grow cannabis and extract its oil for use in pain relief. Brazilian law currently limits the medical use of marijuana-derived products to imported goods.
Brazil’s health ministry is yet to regulate home cultivation of cannabis for medical use, which puts anyone doing it at the risk of arrest.
Judge Rogério Schietti said the top court’s panel acted because the government had failed to take a scientific position on the issue.
“The discourse against this possibility is moralistic. It often has a religious nature, based on dogmas, on false truths, stigmas,” Schietti said. “Let us stop this prejudice, this moralism that delays the development of this issue at the legislative, and many times clouds the minds of Brazilian judges.”
Judge Antonio Saldanha said that “there is a deliberately backward action toward obscurantism” in Brazil’s government’s delay.
The country’s health ministry did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right politician facing a tough battle to get reelected in October, said in June 2021 that he disagreed with any authorization for Brazilians to grow marijuana at home, no matter their aim.
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the main leader of the leftist Workers’ Party, leads all opinion polls to return to the job he held in 2003-2010.
Uruguay is the only South American country where the use of marijuana is legal even for recreational use. Argentina’s approved on May 27 a law to regularize the medical use of cannabis and established a regulatory agency to control how patients obtain seeds and marijuana derived products.
The Brazilian court’s decision follows protests in Brazil in favor of medical cannabis on June 11.