Following a 226 to 3 vote in the Chamber of Deputies, the MP’s initiative to ban the sale and use of light drugs and ethnobotanicals has turned into law. According to it, the use and sale of hallucinogen and ethno-botanical substances will be punished with prison time from 6 months to 3 years.
The law also stipulates a list of such products, which is to be brought up-to-date by a Health Ministry commission in eight weeks since enforcement.
The Deputy Chamber vote today comes as a result of a draft launched one year ago by independent MP Tudor Ciuhodaru and a group of MPs assuming the draft law. In his turn, state secretary Valentin Iliescu says the MP initiative coincides with a Government emergency norm to be approved in special meeting today. The Government has formally asked the EU in various circumstances for an opinion on the matter and waited for an answer that never came, thus deciding to proceed with an emergency draft law.
Controversies over the light drug use law were not singular.
In the point of view sent to the MPs, government members did not support the initiative but, according to State Secretary Valentin Iliescu, this comes as a result of an immediate need for proper legislation in the matter.
Another draft law was initiated last Wednesday following a joint meeting of Health Ministry, the Anti-Drug National Agency, the Narcotics’ Police department and the Pharmacy School in Bucharest.
The draft was subject to harsh criticism from the opposition members.
Social-Democrat Cristian Dumitrescu argued the law was already subject to MP’s consideration, so he suggested “double submission of the same law is worse than omission.” Also, Liberal Eugen Nicolaescu, former health minister disapproved of what he called “the Government’s demagogical approach.”
“The Government should do its job and carry on the lawmaker’s voted decisions,” Nicolaescu said.
During the debates, one of the law’s initiators, MP Ciuhodaru reminded everyone he himself had signaled the sales of light drugs in Romania and the first intoxication case in Iasi, a year ago.
In his turn, PDL MP Sever Voinescu said coherent action must be taken in order to prevent the use of these drugs.
“I am afraid this is all pioneering action and is not the result of a coherent idea. The Government should assume responsibility when modifying the dangerous substance list,” Voinescu said.
Meanwhile, the Senate’s Health Commission gave a negative vote to three draft laws concerning the same issue, light drugs. The commission head, Ion Vasile rejected the projects arguing that a “similar draft law will be approved in emergency meeting by the Government.” PM Emil Boc on Friday asked the Health Ministry to finalize the draft law in the matter, following several intoxication cases that have been brought to public attention lately.
Sixteen teenagers were reportedly admitted to hospital following intoxication with light drugs, the Grigore Alexandrescu Children’s Hospital officials say.
Last week, a young man died in Bucharest after consumption. According to the Health Minister, specialized shops sell a full list of ethnobotanicals that have a similar effect to psychotropic drugs.
by: Olivia Urban
February 10, 2010