Lithuania — the Next Green Country
The Lithuanian Seimas, following the initiative of parliamentarians from the liberal Freedom Party, intends to study the issue of legalizing medical cannabis and decriminalizing drugs as early as this year.
In early December, members of the Lithuanian parliament from the neoliberal faction of the Freedom Party have submitted a bill on the legalization of small doses of marijuana in the Seimas of Lithuania.
The authors suggest abolishing criminal responsibility for possession of small amounts of psychoactive substances, replacing criminal responsibility with administrative responsibility. For example, a warning, a fine, or mandatory medical consultation on the use of illicit drugs.
The initiators of this legislative initiative pressured the Seimas’ board. They used the strongest arguments from recent developments in global legalization:
- The United Nations removed marijuana from the list of the most dangerous drugs;
- Legalization was supported by the U.S. House of Representatives;
- Israel was the first state in the Middle East to remove prison sentences for smoking pot.
The Lithuanian parliament has formed a punching fist of a dozen marijuana aficionados
First, Aušrinė Armonaitė, the party chairwoman herself and current Minister of Economy and Innovation, has been consolidating young and not-so-fans of “pot” since 2015, holding actions in support of its legalization, distributing relevant visual propaganda and literature.
Armonaitė claims that the current situation “with the prohibition of everything” is extremely serious. The current laws concerning the distribution and use of drugs must be changed and cannabis must be decriminalized.
Secondly, the human rights activist Evelina Dobrovolska, now the Minister of Justice, considers the prohibition of possession of non-serious drugs as a restriction of freedom of Lithuanian citizens.
Among supporters of the head of the Ministry of Justice is the judge of the Vilnius District Court Audrius Cininas. He states that people caught smoking marijuana should not be prosecuted. “It turns out that we put an equal sign between those who earn their money by dealing drugs by doing illegal business and those who tried “pot” for the first and last time.”
There is also a conservative skepticism that the worldwide trend toward legalization is necessary for Lithuania. Current legal regulation has helped keep drug use among the population fairly low compared to “green” countries.
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