Liberal Laws but Hostile Policing for Czech Republic's Cannabis Community

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The Czech Republic’s drug policy was praised as a “great example of a successful liberal approach to drugs” during last month’s UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in New York City. But the actions of the National Anti-Drug Agency, the Czech equivalent of the DEA, toward the country’s cannabis community reveals a painful gap between cannabis theory and practice. 

The first sign that something was changing in the Czech Republic came in the summer of 2013, when police accused a journalist of “spreading and encouraging drug abuse.” Why? He made an innocent joke about the improvement of sight after smoking a joint. It did not come to a trial, because the jurisdictional district court judge refused to open such a case.

A few months later the cannabis community was shaken by the “Black Day.” On Nov. 4, 2013, hundreds of police stormed dozens of the hundred-plus dispensaries spread across...

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