Robert Fico, the prime minister of Slovakia points out in his blogpost that the criminalization of marijuana use is pointless
Slovakia may be the next country decriminalizing or depenalizing the possession of marijuana for personal use in Europe. The Czech Republic has effectively decriminalized drug use for several years. After a decade of harsh criminalization, Poland reformed its drug law in 2011, giving discretion to its prosecutors not to punish drug users. The new Slovak government is likely to move to the same direction this year. Richard Sulík, the head of the liberal SaS party, the smaller colation partner in the government, announced after the June elections that he aims to decriminalize marijuana use. The prime minister, Robert Fico, whose party gives the government majority, is against the legalization of marijuana but he is open for the decriminalization of drug use.
“In Slovakia we have a special attitude to politics,” wrote the prime minister, Robert Fico in his blogpost on April 2. “When a problem arises, we make it a criminal offence and we think that the threat of criminal punishment will automatically solve the problem, though the solution lies in something completely different. I am afraid that the use of criminal justice is dysfunctional and an ineffective way to fight marijuana use.”
The current Slovakian drug legislation is one of the harshest in Europe. The Criminal Code, amended in 2005, threatens those who possess small amounts of drugs with up to 3 years of imprisonment. Small amount is defined as maximum three times of a “usual dose”. For underage offenders the maximum punishment is 15 months. Mr. Fico regrets that his government supported harsh punishments in 2005. He claims as a lawyer and professional he has never believed in the deterrent effect of criminalization. He points out that the Slovakian prisons have been already filled with offenders and in the time of financial crisis the way forward is not to send there more – but to find alternatives.
Posted by Peter Sarosi