Is smoking a joint still a crime?
Till today drug use without prescription, is still punishable by law and will still be for a long time to come.
By Law, the penalty for smoking a cigarette or for consuming any king of unprescribed drug is prison, for a minimum period of three months and a maximum period of three years with a payment of 2 to 5 million Lebanese pounds.
For quite a while, courts applied a very tough policy and issued very hard decisions against drug users, and if a group was sharing one cigarette, the person who brought the cigarette to the group was sentenced as a drug dealer with a minimum penalty of 5 years prison and 25 million Lebanese pounds.
In June of 2018, a decree was issued by the prosecutor to the court of cassation Judge Samir Hammoud, requiring to apply the alternative penalty which is to transfer the drug users to a specialized center for treating drug addictions.
This decree has insured that when a person is caught using any kind of prohibited drugs without prescription, and especially when it is for the first time, he is not arrested but transferred to a care center for treatment, this decision is highly applauded when foreseeing the damages done to drug users that are sent to prison and especially the juveniles.
Yet this is just a decree, law still prevails and can be applied at any time, so please be careful and don’t forget that whatever you may hear in the news or social media about legalizing drug use in Lebanon is just poetry.
The government is indeed studying the possibility of legalizing drug plantation for medical purpose; and a project of Law for this purpose has been deposited at the parliament as many countries have previously done, but this is much different than legalizing unprescribed drug use.