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More than 10,000 people have now signed the a petition urging the decriminalisation of marijuana in Latvia, which means that the motion is now eligible for submission to the parliament.
The initiative was launched on the social initiative website www.manabalss.lv on January 23, 2012, and by the beginning of this month, about 9,400 people had signed the petition. A disproportionately large number of signatures - about 250 – were collected yesterday.
Aris Abele, the person behind the initiative, believes that people of legal age should be permitted to grow, possess and smoke small amounts of marijuana according to their individual needs.
Latvian Association of Addiction Psychiatrists representative Ilze Maksima believes that the initiative is "inappropriate", and adds that it is a "determined attempt by sick people to legalise their addiction."
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis (Unity) pointed out that any discussion or speculation regarding the decriminalisation of marijuana is pointless, as such an action could only take place by amending the Constitution.
Marijuana users constituted 0.8 percent of Latvia's working age population in 2011, according to the Disease Prevention and Control Center's data.