Government set to decriminalize drug use

The government is preparing a bill that would decriminalize drug use, although the possession and supply of drugs and the cultivation of cannabis are to remain punishable actions.

Justice Minister Miltiadis Papaioannou said on Tuesday that, according to the planned legislation, drug use will no longer be considered a criminal offense, on the condition that the narcotics used only affect the behavior and condition of the user.

Cultivating cannabis and the possession or supply of drugs, the minister said, would be regarded as misdemeanors, again provided that the actions do not impact on third parties.

The move is seen as a bid to reduce police workload and make it more difficult for drug dealers to avoid punishment by claiming to be users.