Czech Republic Country Drug Report 2018

Drug laws and drug law offences

National drug laws

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 on Violations (Act No 200/1990), punishable by a fine of up to CZK 15 000 (EUR 555). The Criminal Code has 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 a governmental regulation previously annulled (by the Constitutional Court), except for cannabis and methamphetamine, for which it decreased (tightened) the limits.

A range of general 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; detention is also an option for juvenile delinquents.

Penalties for drug supply range 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.

Following amendments to several government acts (on pharmaceuticals, addictive substances and administrative fees), the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes has been allowed in the Czech Republic since 1 April 2013, while a 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 Addictive Substances Act, and instead included in a government regulation (No 463/2013 Coll., on the lists of addictive substances). This facilitates more rapid control of new substances. Sixty-three additional substances were added to the list of controlled substances in 2017.

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Drug law offences

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 supply offences predominated in 2016. The additional data on drug law offenders in the Czech Republic suggest that offences related to cannabis are the most frequent administrative offences, while methamphetamine-related offences are the main criminal offences.

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