Please find full text of the open letter below. If you would like to support this initiative please contact Katarzyna Lozinska.

Dear Sir or Madam,

We, as representatives of non government organizations, write because we see the need of making significant changes in polish drug law. We think that criminalizing drug possession is ineffective and inhumane and it needs to be stopped.

Polish drug law is one of the most restrictive in Europe. In 2000, the Drug Law was amended to penalize possession of any quantity of illegal psychoactive substances. This law penalizes possession of any drug by 3 years of imprisonment. In 2011 we made a small step towards more liberal policy. Amendment of Drug Prevention Act entered into force in December 2011. According to the amendment prosecutor can discontinue prosecution if the offender posses small amount of drug for personal use. It is only an option for a prosecutor, he can still prosecute the person if he wants to.  Unfortunately, this new law still isn’t popular- in every three minutes a person is stopped with a small amount of drugs. Annually this number exceeds 30,000 people. [1] Usually they are young men with marihuana ( around 50% of cases) or amphetamine.[2]

Our main goal is to decriminalize possessing of small amount of drugs for personal use. We believe that a person shouldn’t be treated as criminal just because he/she decided to use drugs occasionally or is drug dependant. Addiction should be treated as social and medical problem. We also believe that prevention and treatment are much more effective then punishment. We think that our law needs thresholds quantities for drug offences. They help law enforcement authorities to ascertain in which case they have a drug dealer and in which- only a user. It is a very important part of decriminalization and it is used in many countries for example in Portugal. In training courses for police officers and prosecutors which were organized in January 2014 by the Polish Drug Policy Network, they all agreed that threshold quantities would make their job easier and more effective. In our opinion putting threshold quantities into the law is the next step that Poland needs to take in order to make our drug policy more rational, effective and humanitarian.

We believe that it is important for Poland to stop criminalizing drug possessing. Changes in law should be put into practice as soon as possible. That is why we, as represents of non government organizations ask for your support.

[1]  Report of Office of the Ombudsman of addicted persons 2012/2013

[2]  Report of the Public Affairs Institute: Drug policy in Poland- time for reform, 2009