Ahead of a visit from Barack Obama, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has signed an amendment to his country's drug law.

The newly amended law, approved on Wednesday, May 25, is a small step forward in liberalizing Poland's drug policy. Overall, it aims to draw a greater distinction between drug user and drug dealer. For example, public prosecutors will now have the option of not bringing people to court on possession charges under three circumstances: if the quantity is small, if it is a first-time drug offense, or if the person has a drug dependency. 

This change is largely thanks to ongoing advocacy by Polish and international civil society groups. The next steps will be to ensure that prosecutors are aware of these exceptions and that they are used, as experience from other countries shows that amendments often go unnoticed. Also, on the basis of the Czech Republic's experience, threshold quantities of illicit drugs should be drawn up with the aim of focusing a public debate on decriminalization.

Click here for more on changes to Poland's drug law.