Thursday, 26 November 2020

Thousands join march for marijuana legalisation for personal use

7 May 2018

Prague, May 5 (CTK) - Thousands of people joined the 21st Prague march for the legalisation of marijuana for personal use that crossed the centre of the Czech capital without any major incidents on Saturday.

The Czech law enables the use of cannabis for medical purposes, but otherwise its use is banned. Those growing cannabis or keep a larger than small amount of it face punishment.

The destination of Saturday's march was the Stvanice Island where the event continued with lectures, music performances and a discussion about the political prospects of the legalisation of marijuana.

"Together with the police, we estimated the number of participants in the march at seven to eight thousands," its organiser Robert Veverka, from the group, said.

This is a similar number like last year.

Veverka said there were no clashes between the demonstrators and the police, who, nevertheless, fined some participants and seized cannabis from them.

"This is why we are organising a demonstration for the legalisation of cannabis, as it is still banned," Veverka said.

The rally crossed the streets accompanied by live as well as electronic music.

The participants included Ivan Bartos, chairman of the Pirate Party that entered parliament in the October 2017 elections for the first time, becoming the third strongest party in the lower house.

Many participants smoked marijuana in spite of Veverka's instruction that they should not do so when watched by the police.

On Friday, the Pirates said they would not propose a bill legalising marijuana for the time being because it would be at odds with the international anti-drug convention.

The Pirates said they would like adult people to be allowed to grow a limited number of cannabis plants and process them for their personal use.

Almost five kilograms of medical cannabis have been given to patients on doctor's prescription in the Czech Republic since 2013. Officially, medical cannabis is used by 26 patients a month on average.

In 2016, however, about 880,000 Czechs over 15, about 10 percent of the population, took cannabis to suppress pains or symptoms of a disease, according to the annual report of the National Monitoring Centre for Drug and Addiction.

The medical cannabis contains up to 30 percent of the THC psychoactive substance. Its use for other than medical purposes is illegal in the Czech Republic.

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