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Drugnet Europe News from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction — January–March 2010

New Czech penal code enters into force

A new Czech penal code entered into force on 1 January 2010, revising how the country defines drug law offences (1).

Like its predecessor, the new penal code criminalises the cultivation or possession of an illicit drug for personal use when the quantity is ‘greater than small’. However, the new code now establishes quantity limits via a binding governmental decree (No 467/2009 Coll.) (2). For example, it stipulates that a crime is committed on possession of more than 5g of cannabis resin (previously 10g), 15g of herbal cannabis or 1g of cocaine, and on cultivation of more than five marijuana plants.

While all substances were considered equal under the old penal code, this is no longer the case. Personal possession of ‘larger quantities’ (i.e. ‘greater than small’) of cannabis/THC, for example, can attract up to one year in prison while, for other substances, the term can be two years. (And the sentence can rise to eight years if an offence is considered ‘of a substantial scale’.)

Similarly, first-time offences for the personal cultivation of ‘larger quantities’ of drugs is penalised by up to six months in prison for cannabis or one year for other plants or mushrooms. (Again the sentence can be as long as five years if considered ‘of a substantial scale’.)

As regards the possession and cultivation of small quantities of illicit drugs, these continue to be punished under the Misdemeanours Act (Act No 200/1990 Coll.), with a possible administrative fine of up to CZK 15 000 (approximately EUR 600). Penalties for trafficking remain largely unchanged, although the maximum penalty for a ‘very serious offence’ has risen from 15 to 18 years. Some circumstances for aggravated supply have also been amended. 

Brendan Hughes

(1) No 40/2009 Coll., including Amendatory Act No 306/2009 Coll. For more see, www.drogy-info.cz/index.php/english

(2) In the past, quantity limits were communicated to the police and prosecutors via non-binding directives.

 


Drugnet Europe is the EMCDDA's newsletter launched in September 1996. The newsletter provides regular and succint information on the Centre's projects and activities to a broad readership.

Page last updated: Friday, 12 March 2010