Czech pot smokers exhale with relief over new drug law

Czech pot smokers have breathed a sigh of relief after the government clarified a law on drug use, turning the country into one of Europe’s safest havens for casual drug users.
Under the more transparent and liberal law in effect since January, people found in possession of up to 15 grammes (half an ounce) of marijuana or growing up to five cannabis plants no longer risk prison or a criminal record, but can only be fined if caught. The new law replaced an ambiguous one that made it a penalty to be in possession of “a larger than small amount” of marijuana.
But Karel Nespor, a doctor who heads the addiction treatment centre at Prague-Bohnice psychiatric hospital, is concerned about impact the eased law may have on health. “One study found that the risk of heart attack is four times higher in the hour after someone smokes a marijuana joint,” he recently told the Czech daily Dnes .”Marijuana use also risks provoking ‘cravings’ for the drug,” he said.
Adopted after years of wrangling, the new drug law also allows people to possess less than 1.5 grammes of heroin, a gramme of cocaine, up to five grammes of hashish, and five LSD blotter papers, pills, capsules or crystals.
Czechs can also legally grow up to five cannabis or coca plants or cacti containing mescaline, and possess up to 40 magic mushrooms. If growers comply with the legal limits, possession is treated as a minor offence, while the possession of bigger amounts may result in up to six months in prison for hemp and up to a year for magic mushrooms, plus a fine. In neighbouring Poland and Slovakia, people possessing any amount of marijuana risk ending up behind bars.

Source Daily Dose 18.03.10

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