Slovakia to slacken drug legislation

Possession of a small amount of narcotics may become a minor offense under certain conditions.

(Source: Courtesy of the Financial Administration)

An amount specified by law of a drug intended for personal consumption could be penalised as a minor offense in Slovakia in the future. The Justice Ministry is proposing this change in its draft bill that defines individual narcotics and specifies quantities, along with psychotropic substances, plants and fungi containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

The cabinet is to discuss the draft bill on Wednesday, February 21 but the junior ruling party, the Slovak National Party (SNS), has a serious problem with the draft bill.

Read also:Justice Ministry prepares completely new legislation on illegal drugs

The Justice Ministry is proposing that the possession of narcotics would only be considered a minor offense if someone is found in possession just once in 12 months.

The maximum fine in infringement proceedings would be €165. In the case of marijuana, for example, the specified tolerated amount would be one gram, for pervitin and amphetamines it would be 0.2 grams, and for heroin 0.5 grams. Such amounts were determined based on recommendations of the Forensic Institute of the Police Corps, based on practical experience.

“The currently valid legislation in Slovakia concerning the prosecution of drug offenses, including penalties for illegal possession of drugs, is one of the strictest with regard to sentences in the EU,” the Justice Ministry writes in its accompanying report to the draft bill. “The current system leads to criminalisation of drug users, mostly in the category of persons under the age of 30, focusing in particular on consequence in the form of a criminal penalty and not sufficiently addressing the causes that lead to this crime. The current state does not reflect a sufficiently widely accepted requirement to primarily penalize illicit drug trafficking over penalizing drug users themselves, which results in the ineffective waste of human resources of the entire criminal justice system.”

SNS not in favour

Tibor Bernaťák, head of the SNS parliamentary faction, informed that the SNS will not support this draft in its current form.

“The leaders of the ruling coalition parties will still discuss it and then we will adopt our position, but we rather think that the justice department should focus more on excessively lengthy court proceedings and better law enforcement,” Bernaťák said. He added that the SNS wants to focus on prevention, and according to them, this is way to go. “Not decriminalisation of drugs, especially of cocaine and heroin.”

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