Drug law reform in Greece

Thanasis Apostolou
Thursday, October 6, 2011

On August 2, 2011 the Minister of Justice presented to the Committee on Social Affairs of the Greek Parliament the changes proposed by the legislative committee to reform the drug laws. The basic reforms of the law include: the decriminalization of drug use. The proposal considers drug use as an act of self-harm and has to be addressed by the legislator in the same way as dependence of tobacco or alcohol which are not less dangerous and harmful to health but are not considered as crime.

The supply, drug possession and cultivation of cannabis for personal use are punishable as a misdemeanour with a penalty up to three months imprisonment and a fine of 1.000 euro. The treatment of the drug dependent offender is more lenient and has as its basic starting point the therapeutic approach. The draft law enshrines the right of the drug dependant person to treatment. The therapeutic approach is also provided for persons detained in prisons. Drug trafficking remains a felony. Objective criteria are defined to distinguish lighter, heavier and very serious cases of trafficking, with a corresponding scale of penalties.

The government’s proposal has been subject to public consultation from September 9-25, 2011. Several organisations and individuals have commented on the draft proposal. The government will come soon with the final version of the proposed law which will be submitted to Parliament. The "Association Diogenis, drug policy dialogue in South East Europe" commented on the new law and pointed out that the government’s proposal is a positive begin of law reforms of the Greek drug legislation.