Europe: Czech Government Announces Decriminalization Quantities -- Law Goes Into Effect New Year's Day

The Czech cabinet Monday approved a Justice Ministry proposal that sets personal use quantity limits for illicit drugs under a penal code revision that decriminalizes drug possession in the Czech Republic. The law and its quantity limits will take effect on January 1.

The Czech government had approved the decriminalization law late last year, but failed to set precise quantities covered by it, instead leaving it to police and prosecutors to determine what constituted a "larger than small" amount of drugs. The resulting confusion -- and the prosecution of some small-scale marijuana growers as drug traffickers -- led the government to adopt more precise criteria.

Under the new law, possession of less than the following amounts of illicit drugs will not be a criminal offense:

                    Marijuana15 grams (or five plants)
                    Hashish5 grams
                    Magic mushrooms40 pieces
                    Peyote5 plants
                    LSD5 tablets
                    Ecstasy4 tablets
                    Amphetamine2 grams
                    Methamphetamine2 grams
                    Heroin1.5 grams
                    Coca5 plants
                    Cocaine1 gram

Possession of "larger than a small amount" of marijuana can result in a jail sentence of up to one year. For other illicit drugs, the sentence is two years. Trafficking offenses carry stiffer sentences.

Justice Minister Daniela Kovarova said that the ministry had originally proposed decriminalizing the possession of up to two grams of hard drugs, but decided that limits being imposed by courts this year were appropriate. "The government finally decided that it would stick to the current court practice and drafted a table based on these limits," Kovarova said.

The Czech Republic now joins Portugal as a European country that has decriminalized drug possession. Drug possession is also decriminalized de facto if not de jure in the Netherlands, and actual charging and prosecution practices in some other European countries already approach decriminalization in practice, if not as a matter of law.

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In honor of the world's most advanced Republic, let's listen to the final minutes (release from prison) of Janacek's "Z mrtveho domu" (From the House of the Dead).

Too Soon?

I'm thinking about developing and marketing a product in the Czech Republic. It's a briefcase that contains just shy of the legal limit for every recreational drug. Working title is The Michael Jackson(tm).

Oh man, you'd dig it the most

The USA should be leading this revolution instead of being the backwards authoritarian dump it's been for the last three or four decades.

US makes too much money from drugs to decriminalize

Us government smugles drugs and makes a lot of bribe / jail money to decriminalize drugs.

A large majority of people in US jails are there for small drug charges, meaning they generate a lot of jobs.

Us government smugles drugs and uses them to fund secret wars. Read Bush Senior CIA drugs and weapons stories. Or watch American Gangster and many other cases like that.

Drugs will be illegal in the USA for a long time.

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