Cannabis in Brazil

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Marcha Maconha, Rio de Janeiro, 2014

Cannabis in Brazil is illegal and criminalized, but possession and cultivation of personal amounts and for private use were de-penanalized in 2006.[1] Limited cannabis-based medicines are permitted as of 2017.[citation needed]


Cannabis was introduced to Brazil by the Portuguese colonists in the early 1800s. Their intent may have been to cultivate hemp fiber, but the slaves the Portuguese trafficked from Africa were familiar with cannabis and used it psychoactively, leading the Municipal Council of Rio de Janeiro in 1830 to prohibit bringing cannabis into the city, and punishing its use by any slave.[2]

Medical cannabis[edit]

In January 2017 Brazil issued its first license for a cannabis-based medicine, allowing sales of Mevatyl oral spray (internationally known as Sativex).[3]


Since 2006, public use of cannabis entails a warning, community service and education on the effects of drug use. The same measures apply to public use any illegal drug.[1] However, there are strong reports of municipal guards themselves applying punishment upon civilian blatant use of marijuana, either minors or adults, with or without other associated crimes. [4] Similar reports are available in online forums [5] but are mainly available by mouth to mouth, mainly in poor comunities.

Selling, transportation and trafficking of drugs are considered criminal acts and are punished with 5 to 15 years in prison and a significant fine.[6]


  1. ^ a b Professor Anita Kalunta-Crumpton (28 June 2015). Pan-African Issues in Drugs and Drug Control: An International Perspective. Ashgate Publis,ing, Ltd. pp. 242–. ISBN 978-1-4724-2214-9.
  2. ^ Robert Clarke; Mark Merlin (1 September 2013). Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany. University of California Press. pp. 182–. ISBN 978-0-520-95457-1.
  3. ^ Reuters Editorial (2017-01-16). "Brazil issues first license for sale of a cannabis-based drug". Reuters. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  4. ^ Polícia analisa vídeo de adolescentes obrigados a comer maconha em MS (in portuguese),
  5. ^ Guardas Municipais São Acusados De Obrigar Jovem A Engolir Maconha (in portuguese),
  6. ^ Law 11.343,