Während die Reform der Cannabispolitik in Amerika Fahrt aufnimmt, scheint Europa hinterherzuhinken. Genauer gesagt, die europäischen Staaten auf nationaler Regierungsebene, wo die Leugnung der Veränderungen in der politischen Landschaft und die Trägheit bei der Reaktion auf Forderungen nach einem Wandel noch immer vorherrschen. Auf lokaler Ebene hingegen führt die Ernüchterung hinsichtlich der aktuellen Cannabispolitik zur Entstehung neuer Ideen. In verschiedenen europäischen Ländern prüfen lokale und regionale Behörden eine Regulierung, entweder unter dem Druck von Basisbewegungen – vor allem den Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC) – oder wegen der Verstrickung krimineller Gruppen und zur Aufrechterhaltung der öffentlichen Ordnung.
The Czech Republic already has one of the world’s most liberal approach to recreational drug possession. And it will get more liberal still: beginning next year the government will allow marijuana to be distributed by pharmacies for patients with a prescription. Lawmakers in parliament’s lower house overwhelmingly passed a bill clearing the way for legal, but regulated medical marijuana on December 7.
There is nothing politically easier in most countries than scapegoating drugs and drug users as the source of all social problems. Politicians can expect a boost in their popularity when they support repressive measures against drugs and are dismissive of public services for people who use illicit drugs.
The Czech Ministry of Health has indicated that it will take marijuana off the list of banned substances and allow it to be prescribed by doctors for its medical effects. “By the end of this year we will submit to parliament an amended law on addictive substances which will move marihuana from the list of banned substances to the list of those which can be prescribed,” Deputy Health Minister Martin Plíšek pledged.
The organisers of a Czech petition for the legalisation of cannabis in medical treatment have asked Prime Minister Petr Necas to support the relevant changes in legislation. The petition committee, including doctors, patients and scientists, recalls that it does not seek the legalisation of marijuana for recreational use. Since its launch on August 16, the petition has been signed by almost 5,000 people.
Although the partial decriminalization of cannabis at the beginning of this year didn't transform the capital into the new Amsterdam, as some headlines suggested, the accessibility of soft drugs, National Drug Coordinator Vobořil says, has secured the Czech Republic one of the highest rankings in Europe regarding cannabis use. The possession of more than the allowed 15 grams of cannabis is subject to a fine of up to CZK 15,000, or imprisonment of up to one year.
Long known for a liberal policy on drugs, the Czech Republic is now officially quantifying its status as one of European Union's most lenient member states when it comes to decriminalizing drug possession. But these new guidelines come among signs that the rest of Czech drug policy is not keeping pace with other EU members and contradicts law enforcement tactics being utilized to tackle alcohol abuse.