Brazil's Senate Social Affairs Committee approved of new legislation this week that would legalize the cultivation and possession of medical marijuana after being prescribed by a doctor. The legislation was inspired by a citizen-led petition that gained around 119,000 signatures in hopes of removing criminal penalties for prescribed cannabis. Before becoming law the bill still has to be approved by the Commission on Constitution and Justice, the full Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, and finally the president-elect. While the support for medical cannabis has grown in the country advocates are still concerned about the incoming president's interest in harsher drug laws. Some lawmakers who are supporting the bill have expressed that this decision shouldn't remain only political and it's important to epathize with the health care needs of innocent citizens.
“We cannot relegate the issue to mere political discussion,” she said, according to a translation. “More than anything, we need to empathize and put ourselves in the place of the other. In this way we can, as legislators, defend the true essence of health care, which is to mitigate human suffering.”