On Thursday, the Lithuanian parliament approved law amendments, proposing to decriminalise possession of small quantities of drugs.
Sixty-five members of parliament voted in favour of the amendments, 40 were against, and four abstained. One more vote must take place before the changes come into force.
The amendments aim to reinstate regulations that were in force until 2017, when liability for possession of small quantities of drugs without a purpose of distribution was provided for in the Code of Administrative Offenses and not in the Criminal Code.
MP Morgana Danielė of the liberal Freedom Party (Laisvės Paritija), who initiated the amendments, proposed to annul a Criminal Code provision.
At present, possession of small quantities of drugs or psychotropic substances leads to a criminal case. If the amendments are approved, offenders would only be fined between 50 and 350 euros.
Contrary to regulations that were in force until 2017, the new amendments propose that repeated misconduct may also result in an obligation to participate in behavioural change programmes.
“We have not had such provisions before, but we think that it is necessary to refer people to specialists if we suspect that they have drug problems,” Danielė said.
“Usually, drug problems stem from other life problems, so people might need the help of social workers, doctors, or lawyers,” she added.