About 100 people outside Seimas demand milder punishment for cannabis possession
Around 100 people gathered outside the Lithuanian parliament on Saturday to protest against strict punishments against possession of small amounts of cannabis. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis believes it is a grave crime and laws should not be mitigated.
The rally was organized by representatives of the Organization of Liberal youth and activists of movements formed on social networks. During the event at the Independence Square, they were making hemp tea and put up a cage, which they said was a symbol of prison that awaits a young person for making a possibly first but crucial mistake – having some cannabis.
"When put in the same cell with representatives of the underworld – murderers and mugs, t hey lose the support of their friends and family, they lose career opportunities. An 18-year-old who has a few grams of cannabis is put on the same line with actual criminals. It seems to me that the purpose of prisons is to protect the society. What do these laws protect against – I don't know," Leonardas Marcinkevicius, chairman of the Vilnius Organization of Liberal Youth, told BNS. "These persons need help, not to be put in prison."
In October, amendments were enforced in Lithuania to ban suspended punishments for grave crimes, including drugs dealing. Some lawyers warned that all young people busted while sharing a joint or shipping a small amount of drugs from abroad would now be sentenced to jail term. Prosecutors said isolated situations would be eligible for the provision of the Criminal Code, which allow milder punishment.