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Brazil’s Supreme Court moves toward decriminalizing possession of marijuana for personal use

Demonstrators hold a banner that reads in Portuguese, "Legalize now," during a march demanding the legalization of marijuana in Sao Paulo, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s Supreme Court on Tuesday moved toward decriminalizing possession of marijuana for personal use, which would make Brazil one of the last countries in Latin America to do so and could reduce its massive prison population.

José Antonio Dias Toffoli said Tuesday that he is in favor of decriminalization, joining five other justices who voted that way since deliberations began in 2015. That establishes a majority on the 11-person court. The last two justices to vote must do so before the ruling is final, and they were expected to do so soon.

The justices must also determine the maximum quantity of marijuana that would be characterized as being for personal use and when the ruling will enter into effect. How long it will take them to do so remains unclear.

Demonstrators carry a giant inflatable joint during a march demanding the legalization of marijuana in Sao Paulo, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)