Polish Parliament Liberalizes Anti-Drug Law
April 4, 2011
Justice Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski
Poland’s lower house of parliament Friday passed new legislation that gives prosecutors the option not to charge people detained with a small quantity of drugs.
An amendment to the existing law was supported by 258 MPs with 159 votes against and six abstained.
The new legislation allows prosecutors to end investigations if an individual possesses drugs for personal use only and is not a drug dealer.
However, it does not specify what is considered a small quantity of drugs and maintains that possession of any amount of narcotics still remains illegal.
“The possession of any kind of drugs is illegal and is subject to punishment under the criminal code,” Justice minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski stressed speaking in the Sejm on Friday.
In cases involving larger amounts, the suspect is able to avoid prosecution by voluntarily agreeing to drug treatment therapy.
Polish lawmakers claim the amended law allows prosecutors to focus more on drug dealers while creating more treatment options for drug addicts.
The supporters of the new legislation point out it makes it possible to concentrate on prevention and treatment, and not punishment. But opponents said the measure lightens the load for the drug trade.
'Which mafia did you support today?' asked Beata Kampa of the Law and Justice party.
At the same time, Sejm also voted to increase the maximum prison sentence for drug dealers to 12 years and for users carrying large quantities of illegal substances up to 10 years.