15:53 12.10.2017

Freedom March to decriminalize marijuana for personal use planned for Oct 28 in Kyiv

Freedom March to decriminalize marijuana for personal use planned for Oct 28 in Kyiv

The so-called Freedom March demanding decriminalization of small quantities of marijuana possession and calling for medical use of cannabis will be held in Kyiv on October 28.

Freedom March press coordinator Taras Ratushny at a press conference in Kyiv on Thursday said the march participants want changes to the Health Ministry's order that makes possession of five or more grams of marijuana for personal use a criminal offense. Ratushny said it was the smallest amount among European countries.

Ratushny said most court sentences for drug offenses involve possession for personal use, while organized drug trafficking crimes are rarely heard of.

A lawyer for the Single Space organization Hennadiy Shabas said human rights defenders have studied the use of cannabis for medical purposes abroad and harassment for possessing small doses in Ukraine. He said his NGO has sent a letter to the government asking how its drug trafficking policy is being realized. Shabas said the letter was answered by the anti-naroctic crimes department. It said the Health Ministry would take part in a working group to discuss improving drug laws.

"We received a response from the ministry saying such a group was created in March 2017… but no one knows what it has done since then," he said.

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