Europe: Czech Marijuana Users to Get Lesser Penalties

Czech deputies responsible for writing an amendment to the penal code are proposing much lesser sentences for pot smokers, mushroom eaters, and possibly, marijuana growers, the Czech daily Pravo reported August 27. There is a possibility the amendment will include no penalty for growing small amounts of marijuana for personal use, the paper said.

Current Czech drug laws make no distinction between marijuana and so-called hard drugs. Under that law, anyone producing illicit drugs is subject to five years in prison. But while the law makes no distinction, judicial practice does. In most cases, the possession of "quantities lesser than great" (in the case of marijuana, up to 20 cigarettes) is handled as an administrative offense, not a criminal one.

The proposed amendment would completely remove the possibility of a five-year sentence for simple marijuana possession, making the maximum sentence one year. The maximum sentence for small-time growing would most probably be six months.

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