On 2nd August 2011 the Greek Minister of Justice presented the changes proposed by the legislative committee to reform national drug laws to the Committee on Social Affairs of the Greek Parliament.

The basic reforms of the law include the decriminalisation 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 on tobacco or alcohol which are no less dangerous and harmful to health but are not considered as crime. Supply, possession and cultivation of cannabis for personal use is punishable as a misdemeanour with a penalty of up to three months inprisonment and a fine of 1.000 euro. The treatment of drug dependent offenders 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 9-25 September 2011. Several organisations and individuals have commented on the draft proposal. The government will soon provide the final version of the proposed law which will then 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.

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