Sunday, 20 December 2009

Czech Republic Decriminalises Heroin, Cocaine, Meth etc. for Personal Use

First Portugal, then Mexico and now The Czech Republic have decriminalised personal amounts of all illicit drugs. Effective from January 1, 2010, anyone caught with less than a nominated amount of any drug will be issued with a fine instead of a possible jail term. Although an increasing number of countries are turning a blind eye to small amounts of drugs for personal use, only a few have actually made it law. With a growing awareness to the carnage caused by the "War on Drugs" and it’s failure to even meet basic goals, many countries are re-evaluating their drug policies especially in relation to users.

One clear advantage of the new laws in The Czech Republic is that the quantity allowed before it becomes a criminal offence is higher and more realistic than other countries. There was some criticism of the recent Mexican decriminalisation laws that the limits set were not reflective of real world drug use. Looking through the quantities used by The Czech Republic, they appear to have got it fairly much right.

One interesting aspect of the new Czech decriminalisation laws is the omission of compulsory drug treatment for anyone caught wiht drugs. For too long now, the trend of sending users to treatment instead of jail has been used for politicial point scoring. Valuable and much-in-demand treatment spots are often taken by those forced into compulsory treatment programs by drug courts whether they need it or not. Most drug courts assume all drug users need treatment and forcing them into a program will be a magical cure. I must take my hat off to the Czechs for showing some common sense and being brave enough to disregard the misguided practice of forced treatment.

Govt Clarifies Rules On Possession Of Drugs
Prague Daily Monitor
December 2009

Prague, Dec 14 (CTK) - The Czech government Monday set the drug possession limits under which the possession of up to 1.5 grammes of heroin, up to one gramme of cocaine and up to two grammes of methamphetamine (pervitine) will not be punishable as of New Year.

Czechs will also be able to legally possess up to 15 grammes of marijuana, according to the Justice Ministry's proposal approved by the government Monday.

Justice Minister Daniela Kovarova drafted the proposal on the basis of the current court practice.

Kovarova told CTK that last week the authors of the proposal met experts and agreed that the limits used in the current court practice were acceptable.

Initially, the proposal allowed for the legal possession of up to two grammes of hard drugs, she said.

"The government finally decided that it would stick to the current court practice and drafted a table based on these limits," Kovarova said.

Kovarova and Interior Minister Martin Pecina were charged today with assessing the functioning of the new rules after some time.

A week ago, the government approved the list of hallucinogenic plants and mushrooms, including hemp, coca, mescaline cactus and magic mushrooms, and decided that people would be allowed to grow up to five pieces of such plants and keep 40 magic mushrooms at home.

Shortly after the list was released, Czech cacti growers voiced concern about the new government's directive which set limits to growing plants containing mescaline.

Mescaline is a type of hallucinogen which is illegal in most countries.

The growers of cacti intend to hand over a petition to the government that has been signed by 450 people already.

"Many cacti growers have been immediately criminalised with the approval of the limits set by the Justice Ministry as there are some 4000 types of cacti in the world and some of them can contain a certain amount of mescaline," the organisers of the petition which has been placed on the Internet say.

Kovarova today assured cacti growers that they would not be prosecuted.

She said that growing plants that can be used for illegal drug production is a crime under the valid penal law already.

She pointed out that the government's directives would not have a negative impact on cacti growers as cultivating cacti for scientific and botanical purposes does not harm the interests which the Penal Code protects.

She said that cacti growers could ask the Health Ministry for a permission to grow plants for scientific or botanical purposes.

The government's directive will be specified by the new Penal Code that will take effect on January 1.

The code contains a special provision on the growth of hemp and magic mushrooms.

So far, the tolerated amount of drugs in people's possession has been defined by police internal directives and it was unclear what amount of drugs in personal possession is considered an amount "larger than a small one," which is punishable by the law.

The government's directive concerns the possession of the following drugs:
Pervitine (methamphetamine) - more than two grammes
Heroin  -  more than 1.5 grammes
Cocaine  -  more than one gramme
Amphetamine  -  more than two grammes
Ecstasy  -  more than four tablets
Marijuana  -  more than 15 grammes
Hashish  -  more than five grammes
Magic mushrooms etc.  -  more than 40 pieces
LSD  -  five tablets

Related Articles:
UN vs UN - Decriminalising Drug Use and Human Rights Abuse
WA Do Not Want Tougher Cannabis Laws from 1981
Danes Consider Dutch Style Cannabis Shops
Like Lambs to the Slaughter
Mexico Decriminalises All Drugs (for small amounts) - The Start of a Trend in South America?
5 Grams of Heroin Sends You to Jail
Now We Have Proof - Decriminalising Drugs Works

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