Si el Parlamento búlgaro aprueba el nuevo código propuesto, toda persona que sea sorprendida fumando un solo cigarrillo de marihuana –o incluso solo en posesión de este– podrá será castigada con una pena de 1 a 6 años de cárcel. Más información, en inglés, está disponible abajo. 

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Bulgarian society seems to be in a state of apathy when it comes to decriminalisation of drug use. Neither a so-called “reform” of the drugs law (making it harsher than ever), nor an outrageous fine for the pro-legalisation Green party, was a loud enough wake-up call for Bulgaria to distance itself from the current punishment-based approach. Read the guest article from human rights expert journalist Krassen Nikolov.

Recent parliamentary elections in Bulgaria have deepened the country's political crisis. Eight parties received enough votes to take seats in Parliament, and analysts anticipate a weak coalition government, which will not be able to conduct serious reforms in the most important public sectors – education, healthcare, and the judicial system.

The previous government put out a draft new Penal Code for public consultation. The draft was harshly criticised by NGOs and the Supreme Court of Cassation. According to the Supreme Court judges, the new code would do more harm than good. One of the reasons for their criticism was that the draft is very restrictive on the question of the supply and use of drugs.

If the parliament passes the new code, anyone caught smoking, or even possessing, a single marijuana cigarette is liable to a term of 1 to 6 years' imprisonment. The current punishment for somebody caught with a small amount of drugs for personal use, is a fine. This issue was widely discussed earlier this year; even so, government authorities refused to withdraw and rewrite the draft. The opinion of senior magistrates, such as Evgeni Dikov, director of the National Investigation Service, was unable to sway them. Dikov said that it was "ridiculous for a marijuana cigarette to spin the entire judicial machinery."

Photo: Flickr CC Torben Hansen

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