Legislation on consumption and possession of drugs
The laws are similar to other European countries – in the sense that the consumption itself is not a crime. At the same time, it is not a crime to possess small amount of any drug, including cannabis with more than 0.3 % THC. Such provision has been in practice since 1998, while only in 2010 (with the entire new criminal code) the government issued an act which differentiated small amounts (up to 15 grams) that could have been considered only an administrative offence by police – with maximum fine up to about 500 Euro. At the same time, the 2010 criminal code introduced a new paragraph on growing psychoactive plants that considers small number of plants an administrative offence (up to 5 plants, as stated in the governmental act). Since then, cannabis growing is no longer considered as illicit drug production – which remains highly punished by the criminal law.
However, the Constitutional Court decided at the end of 2013 that this kind of decision cannot be issued just by government and it has to go through proper legislative process through both the Houses of Parliament, thus the Court invalidated the act. That means the threshold differentiating possession as an administrative offence from possession, which would be considered crime is unclear again.
From the last year (April 2013), we also have a new legislation for the medical cannabis, which should make this medicine available for patients with certain types of diseases. At this moment, the prescribed amount is maximum 30 grams for one month of treatment (justified by the amount of medicinal cannabis prescribed in electronic registry) and is not available at all for patients under 18 years of age. This will hopefully change soon as more research is coming to the hands of Czech doctors and also experts at the Ministry of Health and its State Institute for Drug Control.
The same provision on possession applies to other illicit drugs as it does to cannabis, however, the amounts of small amount stated in governmental act in 2010 were much lower, as well as the current practice would be.
Cannabis Social Clubs
No. However, the plan of development of social services in the City of Prague envisages such service to be open in the capital.
Main political parties for the European Elections
Social democrats (20.4 % in last elections of 2013)
ANO (18.7 %)
Communists (15 %)
Civic Democratic Party (7.7 %)
Christian Democrats (6.9 %)
The Green Party (3.2 %).
The Pirate Party (2.7 %)
Position on drug policy reform
In general, the political parties in the Czech Republic don`t maintain strong positions on drug policy. However, the Green Party supports decriminalization, and the Pirate Party had an independent candidate in the last election whose main program was legalization of cannabis (the candidate is the head of major drug policy advocacy group in the Czech Republic).
What are the two most important threats to drug consumers on the political and legal front?
The National Drug Squad is deeply committed to fighting cannabis according to ”drug use promotion” paragraph of the criminal code (referred to as “the spread of toxicomania”). The provision has recently been used to closing down smart shops around the country (fall 2010), as well as to justify raiding growshops (fall 2013). The worrying part is the capability and ambitions of the police and prosecution forces to interpret the provision freely to suit their needs.
However, the public, media and even politicians seem to be open minded and progressive especially considering cannabis use and its relative dangers compared to legal alcohol or tobacco and other drugs. The other big issue connected closely to the first one is the prosecutors and judges who know only superficially the topic of drugs and yet they have to decide the fate of people, who are in many cases posing no real threats to the general public health and wellbeing.
What is the most promising or positive development concerning drug policy?
New medical cannabis legislation – more information here.
Encod contact in Czech Republic: Hanka Gabrielova – email@example.com