Pubdate: Wed, 26 Aug 2009
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Referenced: The ruling, in Spanish


Argentina's Supreme Court decriminalized yesterday the possession of
small amounts of marijuana for personal use, tossing out tough
provincial drug laws whose penalties it deemed unconstitutional.

The high court ruling protects "the privacy of adults who are
responsible for their own conduct," according to a court statement.

It said the constitution protected "the private actions of individuals
who in no way offend order or public morality, or harm a third party,
who answer to God free from a judge's authority."

The court ruled on a case involving the trial and sentencing of five
youths who were arrested during a sweep in early 2006, when police
seized between one and three marijuana cigarettes from each of them.

While the decision could be seen as a victory for Argentinians seeking
to overturn laws which funnelled many recreational drug users into the
penal system, the court said the ruling "cannot be considered legal
permission to consume indiscriminately."

The verdict comes just four days after Mexico legalized possession of
small quantities of drugs such as heroin, marijuana and cocaine,
arguing that limited resources are better used in the fight against
organized drug crime.

The change means Mexicans can possess up to five grams of marijuana,
500 milligrams of cocaine, two grams of opium or 50 milligrams of
heroin without fear of prosecution. 
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