Argentina Decriminalizes Marijuana

800px-marihuana_en_semaforoArgentina's supreme court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that punishing adults for personal marijuana use is unconstitutional.

The decision is grounded in common sense. What you put into your body is your business as long as you don't infringe upon the safety and rights of others.

The Argentine court ruled that: "Each adult is free to make lifestyle decisions without the intervention of the state."

Supreme Court President Ricardo Lorenzetti said private behaviour was legal, "as long as it doesn't constitute clear danger".

"The state cannot establish morality," he said.

Now thats personal liberty.

The decriminalization of pot in Argentina is a small move that means a lot in the big picture of reducing the harms associated with both drug abuse and drug policies. Its suggests that governments are waking up to the fact that a "drug-free" world is impossible to achieve.

Analysts see the shift in attitude as recognition that current methods in the war on drugs are not working.

"It seems quite clear that drug policy based primarily on interdiction and enforcement has failed," said Robert Pastor, a Latin America national security adviser for President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s. "Therefore, it's natural for people to stand back and ask, 'Is there a better way?'"

Pastor noted that some recent research has shown that handling drug use as a health challenge and focusing on treatment may be more efficient.

"What Argentina and Mexico are doing in many ways is blazing a new path," Pastor said.

Peter Hakim, president of the Inter-American Dialogue policy institute in Washington, sees a trend at work.

"It's all part of a harm-reduction approach," Hakim said, noting that policymakers are shifting away from getting rid of drugs and toward figuring out how to reduce harm to users and society.