[THS] Czech Govt Allows 5 Cannabis Plants For Personal Use From 2010
psalience at fastmail.fm
Thu Dec 10 17:50:16 CET 2009
Wall Street Journal
December 9 2009
The interim Czech government, led by chief statistician-turned-Prime
Minister Jan Fischer, Monday took another step towards making casual
marijuana smoking a worry-free affair.
Fischer's cabinet defined what constitutes "small amounts" of
cannabis for personal use, clarifying the country's new penal code
that from next year decriminalizes cultivation and possession of the
plant by individuals.
As of Jan. 1 ordinary Czechs can grow up to five marijuana plants or
have several marijuana cigarettes in their pockets without fear of
criminal prosecution. Previously what constituted a small amount was
not specified and the police and courts loosely interpreted the penal
code case by case, often resulting in incarceration of home growers.
See story on the cannabis decision
from Czech news agency CTK.
The government's approval of a table specifying what amounts of
drugs are permissible is a vital part of the country's new penal
code that was last year approved by both houses of parliament and in
January of this year was signed into law by President Vaclav Klaus.
Without the just-approved table of amounts that will be used by Czech
police, the January decriminalization of the drug would be difficult
to judge by courts and investigators.
The plant still remains illegal, however, though from the new year
possession of five or less plants is merely a misdemeanour, and fines
for possession will be on par with penalties for parking violations.
The Czech decision is in sync with the country's liberal,
Dutch-like social attitudes and laissez-faire approach to civil
The dried flowers of the cannabis plant.
There is also an interesting lifestyle footnote: Czechs are
Europe's biggest drinkers of hops-infused beer and are also the
continent's leaders in smoking pot.
Czechs consume 320 pints of the golden brew per person annually. Also
22% of Czechs between the age of 16 and 34 smoke cannabis at least
once a year, according to a recent report
by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
There may be a botanical reason behind the Czech enthusiasm for the
, a thumb-sized, bulbous, leafy green flower which is used to give
beer its bitter taste, and the similarly shaped, sized and colored
cannabis flower are the two sole members of the Cannabaceae family of
Czech decriminalization of small amounts of cannabis possession does
not, however provide greater clarity to the country's policy on
medical marijuana, an issue which is gaining momentum both in Europe,
in North America and elsewhere around the globe.
"Konopi Je Lek <http://www.konopijelek.cz/>
", a Czech non-profit organization promoting medical marijuana
recently co-founded the country's first marijuana dispensary in
Prague despite there being no medical marijuana laws on the
The grand opening of the dispensary on Sept. 28 (The Day of Czech
Statehood and the holiday of the country's patron Saint Vaclav, or
), was attended by Prague's Mayor Dr. Pavel Bem
, who is also a physician and proponent of sensible use of the herb.
However since the dispensary opened, Prague police have raided it,
hauling away the cannabis meant for patients, and the dispensary is
now looking for growers to help restock its supply.
Some Czech courts in some cases make exemptions to current law to
allow for medical use and cultivation of cannabis, sparking legal
The murky state of medical marijuana in the Czech Republic is akin to
the legal limbo of the plant's medicinal uses elsewhere in Europe
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