Decriminalization of Drug Use

The Greek government made the first big step regarding decriminalization of drug use. Justice Minister Miltiadis Papaioannou presented to the Greek Parliament the basic ideas of a new law concerning drugs. He announced that, for the first time, drug use will be fully decriminalized in Greece, on the condition that the drugs used harm only the behavior and the condition of the user. However, the Minister noted, the possession and supply of drugs and cultivating of cannabis remain punishable actions.

The Minister explained that these actions would be now regarded as misdemeanors, as long as it effects only the user and no others. Minister Papaioannou noted that the law had to be changed because of the minor danger of specific actions. In this way, police will have the ability to deal more quickly and easily with more severe issues. The Minister stressed that the law has a therapeutic approach to the issue and every drug user will be treated as an addicted person who needs help rather than punishment.


  1. Cannabis is less harmful than tabaco and alcohol, why do they keep telling that is awful to smoke marihuana when in fact is awesome. ignorant pigs 😛

  2. WTF? How can use of cannabis be legal if posession is not? Does this mean that police can arbitrarily arrest people they don’t like such as immigrants? Does this change anything?

  3. I agree that drug users should be treated with help rather than punishment, and I also agree that distribution to others should remain a crime. However, I’m confused…how is use legal if possession is not?

  4. I agree that drug users should be treated with help rather than punishment, and I also agree that distribution to others should remain a crime. However, I’m confused…how is use legal if possession is not?

  5. Either your are serious about saving money or your a political hack.
    These people are serious.

  6. Either your are serious about saving money or your a political hack.
    These people are serious.

  7. To Mikko: You mis read, cultivation means GROWING cannabis. The act of growing cannabis would still be illegal. Possession and use would go hand in hand as a misdemeanor.

  8. Mikko- Decriminalization does not mean legalization. They have lowered possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, which in my opinion is a step in the right direction.

  9. “every drug user will be treated as an addicted person who needs help”
    WTF? I mean, seriously, WTF?
    Okay, I won’t deny this is a step in the right direction, but to want to treat all drug users as if they belonged to the small minority that could be called problematic users, and to treat even users of non-addictive drugs (such as the tryptamine and phenethylamine psychedelics) as if they were addicts, you’d have to be a wild fantasist. And what about alcohol? It is an addictive drug, and if the Minister’s comment is to be at all coherent, then it simply must mean that all alcohol users will now be treated as if they were alcoholics. I suspect it is more likely that the minister’s comment is incoherent than that he is actually proposing a policy that no longer makes an arbitrary distinction between alcohol and other drugs.

    Also, and again note that I’m not denying this is a step in the right direction, but whatever it is, it doesn’t sound like decriminalisation. To decriminalise something surely means to make it not-a-crime. If it’s a ‘misdemeanour’, that suggests that it’s still regarded as a crime, albeit a minor one (like a parking offence) rather than a major one (like assault, say). As long as the state can still subject you to some sort of punishment, even a minor one (and it sounds from the tone of the article like they’re proposing to institute compulsory treatment, which is of course a form of punishment, albeit a less severe one than a jail sentence), then it is not technically decriminalised; they have merely reduced the penalties.

    Of course, if I have misunderstood the article, and there are now no legal consequences at all stemming from the simple possession of a drug for personal use, then yes, that would count as decriminalisation, but the wording doesn’t make it at all clear.

  10. It’s a step in the right direction and I want everyone to realize that it is the first step of many to come in the future!

    We are talking about Greece – a conservative society ! They are doing the right thing by testing out the waters before going with more liberal measures.

  11. If they make possession legal they have to find a way to supply it or write an entirely separate set of laws allowing some entity to provide it. They leave it open and it absolves them of the responsibility in tackling that aspect.

  12. Cannabis has had zero deaths unlike chemical drugs, both corporate pharmaceutical and street distributed.  Cannabis has helped many methadone users break their addiction.  As well cannabis has all the Nucleic acids neccessary to human health.  According to the United States Federal Patent on Cannabis as neural protectant it protects you from Alzheimers as well as aids in brain cell growth. 

    US Patent 6630507 – Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectantsApplication: filed on 2/02/2001US Patent Issued on October 7, 2003Assignee: The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services

    The American people have been media washed by corrupt and cowardly journalism, and a government with corporations that care less about the worker and more abou the dollar.  We must enter into the Cannabis Industrial Age to save our economy, to save a generation of people dying seniors who could be saved from free, organic, natural home grown,  cannabis products.The police could learn from the view that drug users are not criminals but instead need help.  Lets get some social workers out into the fields when drugs or homelessness are involved.  They need help, not beating.  We need to end the  “No Knock Raid,” where the DEA or others enter into a home suspected of drug use, immediatly kill the family dogs, then drag the kids outside face down while handcuffing them, usually in their pjs, usually in the middle of the night.  These acts alone have the Orwellian effect they are intended to.  It does not need to be this way.  All of this can change with one simple change.  Decriminalize drugs and roll back the prohibition on cannabis.  Then lets let out the Domestic POWs, especially the green POW’s, those in jail for cannabis (one young man in texis is there for 20 years for one joint.)  Its time this ends.  We are suppose to lead movements, not be the last ones to get it.

  13. They’ve had proven success in Portugal. I think it’s a great step. Now if USA could only jump on board! But, alas, too much $ would be lost…….would never happen.

  14. everyone here seems to be forgetting that portugal decriminalised drugs more than 10 years and everything there is fine , infact drug trafficking has all but stopped in portugal.

  15. I wouldn’t say Cannabis is less harmful psychologically than alcohol. I’ve tried C’bis a couple of times, & it made me very paranoid & edgy. Whereas, a soht or two of vodka, for instance, doesn’t. But, we don’t see people high on Cannabis getting in to fights, or having casual sex, like we do on drinkers. What are your opinions on heroin use?

  16. What do we all think about the use of heroin? I mean that’s a killer…isn’t? But, more people die from alcohol abuse, than heroin use

  17. cannabis changes the behaviour mentally but so does alcohol. may not be excactly the same way. not everybody become paranoid on cannabis just as every1 who drinks alcohol doesnt get into fights

  18. yes – step in the right direction for the greeks. but im sure theres more to it than that. are they wanting the greeks, doped and drugged up because of the recent protests and they realise the greek youth are a force to be reckoned with? maybe they want to infect the greek youth so they become nice and placid and easily controllable?

  19. It is about time they did this. To be honest, it does not go far enough. The state should regulate and sell all drugs and people should have the right to grow their own cannabis.

  20. On the surface it is ok, but to label someone as an addicted person needing help? I think not.

  21. We need to eliminate the state altogether. Read up on Stefan molyneux. He explains the possibility of a world without governments. Who is any person to tell you what drug you can put in your body?

  22. Yea, you’re quite right, as it’s our body to do what we like with, so long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.

  23. I went to Portugal about 10 years ago, & went to the ghettos, notably ‘casa ventoso’  I couldn’t believe the scale of heroin dealing & abuse, it was staggering.

  24. i agree totally. The kind of thing they do to confuse the population. Because it is illogical serve them the purpose of causing us to grow more idiot. That combined with the usual brainwashing is a bonus for the reptilians.

  25. It’s a step in the right direction, but still the major prejudice against cannabis. It’s a weed for god sake. The birds and the bees plant it anywhere! How can that be a criminal act, especially when it appears to be far less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. It also has a huge range of uses such as making paper, bio-fuels and is very medicinal. It is purely about MONEY and nothing else. But yes, this is a step in the right direction – it’s a start.

  26. The nervousness I get the day after having drinked is worse than any “paranoia” or “fear” I have ever experienced during a bad high.
    So to hell with that argument.. Now, back to serious matters..

  27. You have to take into account the % of alcohol abusers that die though, instead of just the numbers. I’d say that alot more people abuse alcohol than heroin. Although it would be easy to go from recreational use of heroin to abuse from what I’ve read, never tried it myself, and don’t think I would.

  28. I know this article is a year and half old, but were there any further steps taken? are there any updates about this topic?
    Anyway regarding the allegedly harmful psychological effects of cannabis, that a previous reader seemed to be concerned about; people feel paranoid or edgy when using cannabis because it is actually illegal and it’s usually the only reason. In the Netherlands cannabis have been legal for many years, and it have been used and abused by many, could anyone point me to a serious study that shows the relation between violence and the legal abuse of cannabis? 

    I can’t say alcohol, which is a legal drug, always causes violence, but could anyone deny the fact that in domestic violence cases, alcohol is often present? I don’t want to seem accusing or attacking drinkers, I drink too, and I enjoy it. But I can’t understand why a lot of people disapprove of cannabis use while they seem to be completely OK with alcohol, maybe it’s only because it’s illegal.

    Some people might think I am defending all drugs because the article says “DRUG use will be fully decriminalized in Greece” I would like to make it clear that I am defending ONLY cannabis here and not all drugs, because I know it is much better than tobacco and alcohol in terms of addiction and physical harm.

  29. shut up mate. so many deaths from weed. drug driving etc. and im sure so many people have been killed by being in a position that they would not have been had they not had been high, and this is coming from a stoner. thats the same as saying no deaths from alcohol as no one has had a shot of vodka and just died on the floor.