Parliament approves milder punishments for marijuana

The penalty for those who possess marijuana for their own usage is changing.

Slovak parliamentSlovak parliament (Source: TASR)

Draconic punishments for marijuana users have been a subject of discussion in Slovakia for several months. Parliament passed an amendment to the penal law which will introduce milder punishments for those who use marijuana for their own consumption.

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In Slovakia, a special factual basis for the possession of a narcotic or psychotropic substance from plants of the genus Cannabis for one's own consumption is to be introduced, while maintaining the current quantitative limits, the TASR newswire reported.

In such cases, the upper limit of the punishment should be in this case one, or respectively two years, the approved amendment reads.

The possibility of so-called preventative treatment - rehabilitation - should also be introduced. The amendment was submitted by a group of coalition MPs from OĽANO, Sme Rodina and Za Ľudí.

Penalty changes

In the case of the introduction of a new factual basis for the possession of marijuana, the maximum penalty should be one year if the quantity is corresponding to no more than three times the normal single use dose for personal consumption. The upper limit of two years is to apply to a quantity corresponding to a maximum of ten times the dose.

Penalty rates should also be reduced for the possession of marijuana in an amount exceeding possession for one's own use, ie over ten doses. Rates are to change from three to ten years to three to seven years. In the case of repeated offences, the punishment changes to five to ten years, instead of the current ten to 15 years.

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The changes concern only the case of possession and only in relation to the substance from cannabis plants. "The current regulation in relation to other substances, poisons and precursors and in relation to dealership remains the same," MPs emphasised in the proposal, as quoted by TASR.

The provision on the storage of a drug-producing item, which in practice sometimes includes the cultivation of cannabis plants, is intended to remove the lower limit of the penalty rate. So far it has been one year. The aim, according to MPs, is "to enable the courts to take into account all the circumstances of each individual case and to remove the disproportionate rigidity of the law".

If the perpetrator agrees, the amendment should allow the court to impose rehab instead of imprisonment. Again, these are only cases of possession of a narcotic or psychotropic substance from cannabis plants for their own consumption.

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