In Belgrade, on 26 December 2016, almost secretly, public debate on the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on psychoactive controlled substances was organised by Working Group of the Ministry of Health. This law has long been announced, as part of the obligations that Serbia has in the process of accession to the European Union, specifically covered by Chapter 24 of the negotiations.
The Ministry of Health, in consultations with various relevant institutions, hopes that the amendments will result in better organization and quality of work of all ministries involved: health, education, internal affairs, labour, defence, youth and sport, culture, justice, agriculture, public administration and local self-government, finance (customs), as well as numerous organizations, institutes competent for public health and other interested organizations.
The discussion was not organized in the right manner, whatsoever. On the one hand the event involved a number of members of the working group for drafting the document. On the other hand, it was attended by several members of various patient organizations and organizations fighting for legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. Their aggressive discussions largely focused the discussion to the issue of cannabis. Several other participants, including DPNSEE representatives, insisted on a holistic approach, but we remained the minority. Also, DPNSEE asked that the drafts of accompanying documents should also be made available to the public (medical and other protocols, etc.).
Presentations and discussions on the proposed draft law will be further organised and in:
• Novi Sad, 10 January 2017, from 10:00 to 14:00 pm in the great hall of the Assembly of AP Vojvodina, the official entrance, Banovinski passage, Novi Sad;
• Kragujevac, 18 January 2017, from 10:00 to 13:00 pm in Assembly Hall of the City of Kragujevac, Kragujevac, Trg Slobode 3
All interested citizens and professional are invited to participate in the public debate, by submitting suggestions and comments electronically to the following e-mail address: email@example.com or in writing to the Ministry of Health, Department of Medicine and Medical assets psychoactive controlled substances and precursors, Belgrade, Nemanjina 22-26, stating: “For a public hearing on the Draft Law on amendments to the Law on psychoactive controlled substances.”
DPNSEE and member organisations Prevent and Re Generacija, in consultations with various partners, will deeply analyse the draft law, comment is and propose improvements.