The Criminal Code, which has been in force since 2010 (Act No 40/2009) is the major act covering drug-related offences in the Czech Republic. The Criminal Code regulates several aspects of drug-related offences, such as drug trafficking, unauthorised possession of drugs, conditions of prosecution, diversion of prosecution, types of penalties, etc. Lawful handling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and precursors is subject to regulation in accordance with the Addictive Substances Act (Act No 67/1998).
Drug use is not an offence in the Czech Republic, and possession of small quantities for personal use is a non-criminal offence under the Act of Violations, punishable by a fine of up to CZK 15 000 (EUR 550). The new Criminal Code introduced a distinction between cannabis and other drugs for criminal personal possession offences: possession of a quantity of cannabis ‘greater than small’ attracts a prison sentence of up to one year while possession of other substances is punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment (or two to eight years if the quantity of drugs is ‘significant’). In 2014, the Supreme Court interpreted ‘quantities greater than small’ as being in ‘manifold excess of a normal dose’ and adopted all the quantity limits from previously annulled governmental regulations, except for cannabis and methamphetamine, for which it decreased (tightened) the limits.
In the case of people with drug dependence committing a drug-related crime, a range of alternatives to imprisonment are available to the court (e.g. suspended sentences, community service and probation with treatment). Secure detention with compulsory treatment is a possible response to crimes by people who are drug dependent and are deemed to be socially dangerous; this is also an option for juvenile delinquents. Penalties for drug supply are from one to five years to 10-18 years of imprisonment, depending on various specified aggravating circumstances. For example, punishment might be more severe if an offender commits a new offence within three years of a previous conviction.
Legal penalties: the possibility of incarceration for possession of drugs for personal use (minor offence)
NB Year of data 2015.
Following the amendments of several government acts (on Pharmaceuticals, on Addictive Substances and on Administrative Fees), the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes has been allowed in the Czech Republic since 1 April 2013, while provision allowing the cultivation and supply of medicinal cannabis (through a licensing procedure) came into force on 1 March 2014.
In 2014, the list of controlled substances was removed from the Act on Addictive Substances, and instead included in a government regulation. This facilitates more rapid control of new substances. Sixty-three additional substances were added to the list of controlled substances by 1 March 2017.
Drug law offence (DLO) data are the foundation for monitoring drug-related crime and are also a measure of law enforcement activity and drug market dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies. The statistical data on DLOs from the Czech Republic indicate that most offences are in connection with administrative violations for cannabis; however, the most common criminal offences are those related to illegal handling and supply of methamphetamine. Drug supply offences were most prevalent among DLOs in 2015.
Reported drug law offences and offenders in the Czech Republic
NB Year of data 2015.