On March 12, 2013 the Greek parliament voted in favour of the Act on Addictive Substances and published it in the Government Gazette (No Sheet 74 of 20 March 2013). The same law entitled “Code on Drugs” was discussed in the standing parliamentary committee of the House beginning of 2012, but it was not submitted for voting in Parliament because of disagreements among the political parties that supported the then government.The new law has been modified by the new government in which the parties New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic left are participating.
In matters of principle there has been a fundamental change. This change maintains the criminalization of drug use as well as possession and commission of drugs for personal use by any means. The legislative committee appointed by the government to prepare the draft law had proposed the decriminalisation of use. But the political parties that support the government and especially the conservative liberal party of New Democracy -the largest party of the coalition government- took a very firm stance that if decriminalisation would be part of the law they would vote against the bill. The two other coalition parties (PASOK and Democratic Left) compromised and ultimately the law was passed.
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From 1-2 November 2012 a meeting took place in Thessaloniki, Greece with the researches who have cooperated with the Drug Law Reform Project and have written a country-profile report. The country reports are an overview of the drug strategies and actions plans, the drug legislation in the SEE countries and of the opinions of stakeholders (responsible authorities, agencies, institutions and non-governmental organizations working in the areas of prevention, treatment and social (re) integration and in the area of law enforcement) concerning shortcomings of the current policy and future prospects. Read more
The statements made by the new Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, Mr Antonis Roupakiotis, concerning the forwarding of the bill on drugs to Parliament are encouraging. The interruption in the voting procedures on the bill by the plenary session was caused chiefly by the threat of the Popular Orthodox Rally to cause a political crisis in the then coalition government. The then Justice Minister, Miltiadis Papaioannou, vehemently supported the bill with persuasive arguments and was determined to table the bill for voting by the Plenary Session of Parliament, where there was a comfortable majority for approval of the bill. So an opportunity was lost for purely party political reasons. Today, as at the beginning of 2012, the persuasive arguments of Mr Papaioannou and the parliamentary majority are taken for granted. The intentions of the Justice Minister, Mr Antonis Roupakiotis, to forward the bill on the Drugs Code to Parliament are, for these reasons, a self-evident initiative that should be immediately implemented.
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