The ministers of the Sixth Panel of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) unanimously allowed Tuesday three people to plant marihuana for medicinal purposes. The decision is unprecedented in the court.
The ministers analyzed appeals from patients and family members who used the drug and wanted to plant it without being framed in the Drug Law and punished for it. With this decision, the court rules that the farming of the marihuana is not considered a crime and that the group is not held responsible by the government.
The judgment of the Sixth Panel is valid for the specific cases of the three appellants, but the. Still, the understanding, although not binding, may guide similar decisions in cases in lower courts that discuss the same subject. In the session, the Deputy Attorney General of the Republic, José Elaeres Marques, said that cultivating cannabis for patients with serious diseases cannot be considered a crime since it falls under the exclusion of illegality known as the state of necessity.
"Despite the possibility of importing and obtaining the product through associations, the price is still a determining and impeditive factor for the continuity of treatment in several cases. Because of this, several families, in search of a viable alternative, have taken the path of the judiciary, requesting through habeas corpus safe-conduct to cultivate and extract medical cannabis extract at home without the risk of being arrested and also attending cultivation courses and extraction workshops promoted by associations," said Marques.
The historic decision of the STJ should have repercussions in the lower courts, further increasing the judicialization of cannabis cultivation in Brazil.
Minister Rogério Schietti, the rapporteur of one of the cases, said that the issue involves "public health" and "human dignity." He criticized how agencies of the Executive Branch are handling the issue.
"Today, we still have a refusal of the Brazilian state, either by Anvisa or the Ministry of Health, to regulate this issue. In the records, we transcribe the decisions of the mentioned bodies, Anvisa and the Ministry of Health. Anvisa transferred this responsibility to the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Health exempting itself, saying that it is Anvisa's responsibility. And so thousands of Brazilian families are at the mercy of the omission, inertia, and disregard of the state for something that, I repeat, implies the health and well-being of many Brazilians, most of them unable to afford to import this medication," he highlighted.