With the votes of the Members of PASOK, SYRIZA and the Democratic Left in the parliamentary commission of Social affairs, the Greek Parliament agreed, in principle, with the changes in the Code of drugs which decriminalise drug use. The Members of the conservative party Nea Dimokratia, the Communist party KKE and the nationalist LAOS voted against.
The main changes in the new Code of drugs include the decriminalization of drug use, the scale of the penalties for drug trafficking depending on the seriousness and dangerousness of offenders and the facilitation of measures for treatment of drug dependency, physical and psychological, as alternative to incarceration and imprisonment.
At the Parliamentary commission debate on Thursday, January 19, the Justice Minister Mr Papaioannou said: “We want the traffickers in prison, we do not want in prison the persons who merely use drugs, because the prison does not help.” The Minister also noted that even with the changes that have been made, Greece still has the most rigorous legislative framework on drugs in the European Union. The parties that voted against the new law argued that the bill does not send the right message about the use of drugs. Members who voted in favour characterised the new law as positive, noting, inter alia, that countries like Portugal, “has proven that the decriminalization of drug use, not the trafficking of drugs, has positive results like significant reduction of drugs in general and moreover reduction of hard drugs.”
It is expected that the new law will be adopted in the plenary of the Parliament.
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