October 7, 2008

Czech Education Minister Admits Smoking Marijuana – Press

Text of report in English by Czech national public-service news agency CTK

Prague, 7 October: Czech Education Minister Ondrej Liska (Greens, SZ) has smoked marijuana several times, he admitted in a recent discussion with secondary school students in Dvur Kralove, east Bohemia, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes today.

"I have played with a hip hop band for a long time and organized various festivals and other similar events. I therefore was in an environment where dope is commonly smoked and I have experience with it, too," 31-year-old Liska told the students.

Liska said he believed that marijuana should be neither legalized nor criminalised.

He said he believed it would not be good to sell soft drugs in special shops like in the Netherlands.

On the other hand, Liska said he was opposed to the situation where a person may be criminally prosecuted only because he/she smokes a marijuana joint from cannabis he/she grew himself.

"I consider it more important that people of your age have enough information to make a responsible decision on whether to take the risk involved in experimenting with drugs rather than to punish anybody who has a marijuana joint," MfD quotes Liska as telling the students.

MfD wrote earlier this year that under a Czech draft penal code people who grow one to three cannabis plants or have up to 20 marijuana cigarettes will only face a fine.

According to the current law, it is a crime to have "more than a small amount of drugs". If people had more drugs on them, it would be qualified as a crime and they could end up in prison.

It has been unclear for more than ten years when a person would go behind bars for drug possession, MfD said then.

Originally published by CTK news agency, Prague, in English 0757 7 Oct 08.

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