Prague - The possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use will be punished far less strictly than that of other drugs, the Czech lower house of parliament agreed within the passage of the Penal Code today.
While the production and sale of drugs can be punished with five to 15 years in prison, if people have a small amount of marijuana on them it is only an offence, under the new code that is yet to be discussed by the upper house and signed by the president into law.
MPs from the two junior ruling parties clashed over marijuana in parliament today.
The Greens (SZ) proposed that cannabis growing and distribution among adults be not considered a crime. The Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), on the other hand, were against any differentiation between soft and hard drugs.
However, the lower house rejected both proposals.
KDU-CSL MP Michaela Sojdrova said the education minister should not submit proposals allowing for drug use and the promotion of drugs, referring to Greens deputy chairman and Education Minister Ondrej Liska.
According to a government draft decree, a small amount of a drug equals 20 marijuana cigarettes, three cannabis plants, 25 magic mushrooms, and about 10 doses of other drugs, namely 0.3 grammes of ecstasy, 0.5 grammes of pervitine or cocaine, 0.3 grammes of morphine, 0.2 grammes of heroin, and 0.005 grammes of LSD.
The decree is to remove present unclarities on when a person is to go to prison for drug possession. The current police recommendation is not binding on Czech courts.
The new code punishes those who offer drugs to children with 10 years behind bars.
Those who would own more than a small amount of a drug face up to two years in prison if found guilty, in case of marijuana and cannabis growing up to 12 months and six months, respectively.
The new code also introduces doping in sport as a new crime. Sport coaches may go to prison for doping for up to one year, while doctors for up to eight years.
MP Pavel Ploc (opposition Social Democrats, CSSD), a former ski-jump Olympic medallist, pointed out that some doping methods seriously harm human health.
The code also includes 10-year bans from sports, cultural and other events that is to help fight mainly against football rowdies.
The current Penal Code dates from 1961.
Published: 11.11.2008, 19:51
Updated: 11.11.2008 19:54:53
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