Police raids, arrests, and deaths. For years that has been the extent of Brazil’s policy on drugs. The strategy has not only utterly failed — as drug trafficking and consumption only increasing — but it has also overburdened Brazil’s legal system. Currently, one-third of Brazilian arrests are drug-related — in Paraná, a state bordering Paraguay which is a notorious drug route, the rate spikes to 59 percent.
Last year, however, House Speaker Rodrigo Maia appointed a committee of legal scholars and health experts to revise Brazil’s 13-year-old Drugs Act. The committee has presented its report — which promises to spark controversy in one of the most conservative legislatures on record.