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Greek Government Proposes Drug Decriminalization

The Greek government is proposing to decriminalize the possession of drugs under a bill sent to parliament by Justice Minister Miltadis Papioannou, the British web site Talking Drugs reported this week. Under the bill, drug possession would be decriminalized as long as the drug use does not affect others.

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The bill is a response to continuing high drug overdose numbers -- more than 300 deaths a year in recent years -- and high levels of imprisonment. Some 40% of Greek prisoners are doing time for drug or drug-related offenses.

Under the proposed bill, drug possession for personal use would qualify only as "misconduct" instead of a more serious criminal offense. The decriminalization provision would also apply to people growing marijuana for their personal use.

The bill would also guarantee the right to drug treatment, including for people currently imprisoned. People deemed "addict offenders" by the courts would be provided treatment instead of being jailed.

Under the "treatment not jail" approach, addicts would be admitted to an approved treatment program for detoxification, then granted deferred prosecution and conditional release under a drug monitoring program. It is unclear what would happen to addicts who relapse while in the program.

The bill does not legalize the sale of drugs, which would remain a felony offense. Like other decriminalization schemes, the measure would make life easier for drug users in some ways, but would do little to reduce the deleterious effects of the black market in proscribed substances.

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While I applaud a more away from considering cannabis to be criminal to decriminalization this is not liberation. We should not follow the Portuguese model but follow a model that allows for the full legalization of cannabis. Anything less is a rip off. While Papandreou is at it he should try to find any remaining seeds of the local landraces of cannabis such as the Kalamata and Cretan varieties. Saving such landraces would preserve whatever genetics and cannibinoid content unique to those landraces which possibly some of those strains sold in the medical marijuana shops in the USA may not have. 

Word, W.

Word, W.

it would decriminalize growing marijuana for your own use

That gets my attention. Aside from the big bucks saved and pleasure of gardening, growing your own is also a patriotic act since it takes money away from the cartels. If this passes, people could do that in Greece without worrying about being charged with felonies for their trouble. 

So now instead of jail its

So now instead of jail its "mandatory treatment"? am I reading this right?

sounds like mandatory treatment for"addict offenders"

but only some users would be classified that way.

Weird, selective enforcement?

Weird, selective enforcement? And doesnt the very fact that its mandatory make it somewhat like a jail sentence without actually calling it a jail sentence?....Furthermore when is one released from this forced rehab? When they are "cured"? If thats the case that could end up being longer than jail sentences are now... This seems like it will be a good step overall, but could be abused by anti-drug zealots still...

only the users

Any system that makes criminals out of people addicted to any drug is a step backwards.Most European countries that have switched to the maintenance approach with heroin have reduced their addict populations even when cannabis remains illegal.Portugal got everything right and countries that ignore this fact do so to the detriment of their people.Greece has seen what has happened in Portugal and still refuses to drop a "forced treatment" regimen.Forced treatment is foolish,unworkable,expensive and does very little if any good.If Greece is trying to reduce costs this approach won't do that and just might add expense with treatment that has been shown not to work so many times already.It's a good thing to back off prosecutions but forced treatment is no ones answer.

Some of us have waited a long time...

and it's too late to counsel half-measures just to please the cannabiphiles who see this entire movement as being about cannabis. Addiction has to be treatable, on demand - over and over, if needs be - and all drug types will have to be available under a new system, until we begin to work our way out of the mess that Drug Prohibition has gotten us into.

Do addicts have any responsibilities in your view?

Or are responsibilities all a one way street? You might want to lose that 60's radical style phrase "treatment on demand", and change it to "treatment on request". Taxpayers have rights and feelings too, you know. 

I don't by any means see this as only about cannabis. if you think I do, I don't know where you got that impression.

It's not to late to counsel legalization referendums in the U.S. that only apply to cannabis, or only apply to medicinal cannabis for that matter. Or do you expect cannabis users to wait until there is majority support for legalizing hard drugs before you would endorse their efforts to get themselves free of the thug government, with the help of the larger drug law reform community? I'm sorry support for any form of legalizing hard drugs is low so far, but that's the reality and it should be taken into account when planning strategy.

I don't agree

I'm not agree with that..They will only get more abusive.

Still a bunch of hypocrisy.

Still a bunch of hypocrisy. Why don't they take alcoholics and nicotine addicts and force them into treatment as well? All drugs should be legalized and taxed. With voluntary treatment.

Still a bunch of hypocrisy.

Still a bunch of hypocrisy. Why don't they take alcoholics and nicotine addicts and force them into treatment as well? All drugs should be legalized and taxed. With voluntary treatment.

Still a bunch of hypocrisy.

Still a bunch of hypocrisy. Why don't they take alcoholics and nicotine addicts and force them into treatment as well? All drugs should be legalized and taxed. With voluntary treatment.

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