VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda is opposed to the idea to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis in the country.
“I am opposed to that at present because I think we have certainly been failing thus far in our fight against the spread of drugs in our schools, the spread of drugs among our young people who are the future of our state,” he told the public broadcaster LRT on Friday.
The state leader stressed that it was necessary to stave off the spread of narcotic drugs among the youth before taking any initiatives to decriminalize the possession of such substances.
“I do not find it convincing when someone says that we will liberalize this somewhat first and then move to education and various other projects. We reverse the order of things in this place. I think we should educate first and make sure to stop this bad negative trend. And then we could talk about legislative initiatives,” he noted.
Earlier in December, the Lithuanian parliament approved after debate a proposal to supplement the Code of Administrative Offences with fines imposed for the possession of small amounts of cannabis but failed to remove this offense from the Criminal Code in a separate vote.
MP Stasys Sedbaras, chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, then said that such decisions adopted by lawmakers were conflicting and the bills therefore could not be forwarded for the adoption procedure.
Currently, possession of a small quantity of any kind of narcotic drug is punishable by criminal law.
An earlier attempt to decriminalize the acquisition and possession of small amounts of narcotic drugs failed through in the parliament in November 2011.
In 2018, the parliament twice rejected amendments aimed at decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of narcotic drugs.
The Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department said early this year that the prevalence of drugs in Lithuania had increased one and a half times over the last five years.