Government Council for Drug Policy Coordination
The Government Council for Drug Policy Coordination (the 'Council' or 'GCDPC') is a permanent body of the Government of the Czech Republic acting in the area of drug policy. Key policy documents in this field include: National Drug Policy Strategy and Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Drug Policy Strategy. The Council informs the government and the public about the drug situation by presenting the Annual Report on the State of the Drugs Problem in the Czech Republic. The Council also operates a system for the provision of funding from the Drug Policy chapter of the state budget.
All activities (i.e. including its committees and working groups) are run by the Secretariat of the Council (the 'Secretariat') which is an organizational unit of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic. The Secretariat sees to the administration and organization of the Council's work (and work of all committees of the Council), centralizes the background reports and information required for the Council's activities, draws up expert documentation for Council meetings, and coordinates the activities of committees and working groups. The Secretariat serves also as an expert methodological centre for the collection and distribution of data on drugs and drug addiction; these activities are secured by the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Reitox National Focal Point) The Director of the Secretariat (National Drug Coordinator) represents the Czech Republic in international institutions specializing in international programmes for drug use prevention and treatment.
The National Drug Policy Strategy for the period 2010-2018 was adopted by the Government on 10 May 2010 (Government Resolution No. 340).
Drug legislation in the Czech Republic
Act No. 50/2013 Coll. dated 30 January 2013, amending Act No. 378/2007 Coll., on pharmaceuticals, Act No. 167/1998 Coll., on addictive substances, and Act. No. 634/2004 Sb., on administrative fees, was promulgated in the Collection of Laws on 4 March 2013. The Act introduces the option of using cannabis for therapeutic purposes in the Czech Republic. For details please see the attached summary (PDF).
On 1 January 2010, Act No. 40/2009 Coll., the Criminal Code, as amended by Act No. 306/2009 Coll., which was promulgated in Part 11 of the Collection of Acts on 9 February 2009, comes into effect. Chapter VII (Crimes against public order) Division 1 (Crimes of general endangerment) of the Criminal Code sets forth under the provisions of sections 283–288 thereof a list of crimes directly connected with unauthorised handling of drugs (hereinafter “narcotic and psychotropic substances” – “NPSs”). The precise wording of the headings of the said provisions in the new Criminal Code is as follows:
- section 283 – Unauthorised production and other handling of narcotic and psychotropic substances and poisons
- section 284 – Possession of narcotic and psychotropic substances and poisons
- section 285 – Unauthorised cultivation of plants containing narcotic or psychotropic substances
- section 286 – Production and possession of articles for the unauthorised production of narcotic and psychotropic substances and poisons
- section 287 – Spreading of drug addiction
- section 288 – Production and other handling of substances with hormonal effect
The provisions of sections 283-288 of the Criminal Code were hitherto contained in sections 187-188a of Act No. 140/1961 Coll., the Criminal Code, as amended, with the exception of sections 285 and 288, which are entirely new.
As regards the overall conception of the new Criminal Code, it can be said that from 1 January 2010 the assessment of criminal liability will significantly differ from the situation to date. Under the Criminal Code as applicable until 2009, a crime consisted of an act endangering society the features of which are given in the Criminal Code, whereas an act whose degree of endangerment of society is negligible does not constitute a crime, even when it otherwise displays the features of a crime (section 3(1),(2) of the Criminal Code). This material (or formally material) conception of a crime is superseded by a formal conception in the new Criminal Code. Under the new Criminal Code, a crime consists of any illegal act which the Criminal Code designates as a crime, and which displays the features stated therein, regardless of the given act‘s endangerment of society (degree of damage etc.) (section 13(1) of the Criminal Code).
In this light, therefore, the crime of e.g. possession of NPSs and poisons in the meaning of section 284 of the Criminal Code will consist of every act of a criminally liable offender which possesses without authorisation and for personal use any substance from the defined group (under Act No. 167/1998 Coll., on Addictive Substances, as amended) in at least the quantity stipulated by a government decree. However, a material corrective set forth in section 12(2) may open a crack in the absolute criminal liability ensuing from this formal conception of a crime; in the area of drug crime one can envisage the application of section 12(2) (subject to other conditions being met) in cases of, for example, cultivation and subsequent processing of cannabis exclusively for the purposes of alternative medicine. A significant amendment is brought by the provisions of section 284 – Possession of narcotic and psychotropic substances and poisons - which give concrete form to a requirement stemming from practice to make a distinction amongst the possession of various particular types of illegal NPSs with regard to the health and social risks associated therewith. Relatively lower sentences are therefore faced by users of an NPS in possession of a quantity greater than small of a cannabis-based drug for their own use. In this case, offenders face punishment under subsection 284(1) of the Criminal Code by imprisonment for a term of up to 1 year, prohibition of business activity, or forfeiture of an item of property or other asset. Offenders that possess for their own use and in a quantity greater than small some NPS other than cannabis-based drugs will face imprisonment under subsection 284(2) for up to 2 years, prohibition of business activity, or forfeiture of an item of property or other asset. The provisions of subsections 284(3) and (4) of the Criminal Code relate to possession of an NPS on a significant and substantial scale respectively, regardless of the type thereof.
Section 289 – Joint provisions – establishes inter alia legal authorisation for the government to stipulate in a decree what quantity constitutes a quantity greater than small for NPSs for the purposes of sections 283, 284 and 285 of the Criminal Code, and which plants or mushrooms are deemed to be plants and mushrooms containing a narcotic or psychotropic substance in the meaning of section 285, and what quantity thereof is a quantity greater than small in the meaning of section 285. This provision conferring authority was included into the Criminal Code in particular in view of the difficulties with practical application and the differing interpretations of the term “quantity greater than small” under the prior legislation at the level of the police force, state representation, and courts. On 7 December 2009 the government passed a decree relating to the cultivation of plants and mushrooms for personal use, while postponing debate and the potential passing of a decree relating to quantities greater than small for NPSs until 21 December 2009.
Possession of an NPS in a small quantity or cultivating plants or mushrooms containing a narcotic or psychotropic substance “in a small quantity” is deemed a misdemeanour under Act No. 200/1990 Coll., on Misdemeanours in the amendment effective from 1 January 2010. According to the provision of subsection 30(1)(j) of the said Act, a misdemeanour has been committed by whoever “without authorisation possesses in a small quantity for their own use a narcotic or psychotropic substance.” Possession of such a substance in a quantity greater than small is qualified as the crime described above pursuant to the provisions of section 284 of the Criminal Code. According to the provisions of section 30(1)(k) of the cited Act, a misdemeanour has been committed by whoever “without authorisation cultivates in a small quantity for their own use a plant or mushroom containing a narcotic or psychotropic substance.” Cultivation of such plants or mushrooms in a quantity greater than small shall be qualified as the crime described above pursuant to the provisions of section 285 of the Criminal Code. For both misdemeanours, offenders face a fine of up to CZK 15,000, although they may also be sanctioned by a warning and forfeiture of an item of property (i.e. even the NPS).
For explatation to all so called drug paragraphs in the Criminal Code please see the attachements to this article (PDF). Detailed information, including full text of the law and the government decrees, may be found at the website czechdrugs.eu (english version of the national drug-related website drogy-info.cz). Note: the above information is as of 1. 1. 2010. For information on further developments in the legal situation please check the annual reports on the drug situation in the Czech Republic - the latest report is attached.
Drug-related information may be found on the national website drogy-info.cz. A part of this website is the so called Mape of Aid - a database of Czech treatment facilities, other helping institutions and drug coordinators in the Czech Republic (English and Czech language version). The developments in the drug policy and drug situation are published in the annual reports on the drug situation in the Czech Republic. All reports are published on the site drogy-info.cz. The last report is attached to this article.
Office of the Government of the Czech Republic
Secretariat of the Government Council for Drug Policy Coordination
nábřeží E. Beneše 4
CZ-118 01 Praha 1
Czech Republic Phone: +420 ... (only mobile phones)
Fax: +420 ...
The office is seated at the addr. - visits currently not possible, the unit moves to another address.
Mgr. Jindřich Vobořil, PgDip.
National Drug Coordinator,
Head of the Secretariat of the Government Council for Drug Policy Coordination
MUDr. Viktor Mravčík
Head of the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (National Focal Point)