The development of attitudes and legislation towards marihuana in the Czech Republic PhDr. Jiri X. Dolezal, writter and journalist – weekly Reflex
Aboutauthor Czechmarihuana writterandhardmarihuana smoker andjournalist – weekly Reflex
Reflex CannabisCup Since 2004 we run Czechhempphotocompetition www.cannabiscup.cz
From prehistoric times until the fall of communism – 1989 by law • The growing of marihuana is illegal. • The possession of marihuana is illegal. • The use of marihuana is illegal.
In reality • neither growing nor use is prosecuted • the police are oblivious to hemp • Usage is very limited within the framework of small anti-regime sub-cultures. (local hippies, intellectuals). • The general public isn’t aware of marihuana at all and puts it in the same level as heroin.
1990 – 1998 by law • The growing of marihuana is illegal. • The possession of marihuana for personal usage isn’t illegal regardless of the amount. • Usageisn’tillegal.
In reality • A couple of verdicts have been published (suspended sentence, served sentence) for growing marihuana, but the practise of growing is spreading quickly, the police have no major interest in hemp. • Usage among youth starts to explode. • The general public still practically know nothing of hemp. • Political pressure of the ultra-right Czech People’s party to have the possession of marihuana criminalised.
1998 – approx. 2004 – timeofrepression Peopleś Partyrepressive amendment is enforced. by law • The growing of marihuana is illegal. • The possession of marihuana is illegal. Personal use in very small amounts is an offence, possession of larger amounts is a criminal offence. • Usage is legal.
in reality • Many attempts in practise for severe sentences for trivial cases, for example 4 years imprisonment for giving one joint to a person under the age of 15. Another example, prosecuting the publishers of a hemp cook book or a Police operation “Just say no to the legalization lobby” aimed against the media. • The police are not interested in prosecuting users or small growers in terms of massive campaigns. • The experience using hemp among young people is the highest in Europe, marihuana becomes part of the lifestyle of the youth.
Hope in thetimeofrepression • Scientific research of the impact of repression is starting, initiated in Parliament by right-wing parties. A whole group of young drug scientists is forming as well as the Czech National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and the Drug Addition Centre for Addictologyat Charles University. • The pressure by the public and right-wing parties to start pragmatic and hemp tolerant anti-drug politics is growing.
2004 – 2010 • The legal situation remains same as in previous periods but cases of prosecution of possessing marihuana and growing for personal use are diminishing. If any such case reaches the court at all, the courts only give fines or conditional punishments. • Marihuana is part of the lifestyle of young people but it doesn’t exceed expectations. • A maximum of 4% of the population are becoming regular users despite the fact that more than 50% of young people have experience using marihuana.
2010 – present Changesin druglegislation • Usageislegal. • Possession of small amounts for personal use – lessthan 15 grams- is an offence punishable by fine, possession of larger amounts for personal use is a criminal offence • the growing of small amounts for personal use – maximally 5 plants- is an offence punishable by fine, the growing of large amounts for personal use is a criminal offence.
Persistingproblems The lack of availability of medicalmarihuana and medicines derived from hemp for patients suffering from degenerative nerve diseases and cancer have formed the basic problem in the Czech Republic.
Thankyouforyourattention! Jiří X. Doležal 2010 www.jxd.cz www.reflex.cz