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Taiwan lowers jail time for growing marijuana for personal use

Taiwan lowers minimum prison sentence from 5 years to 1 year

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FILE - Marijuana plants are pictured at a growing facility in Oklahoma City, Feb. 26, 2020. Republicans in the Oklahoma House are unveiling a package ...

FILE - Marijuana plants are pictured at a growing facility in Oklahoma City, Feb. 26, 2020. Republicans in the Oklahoma House are unveiling a package ...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Legislative Yuan on Tuesday passed an amendment that reduces the minimum prison sentence for growing marijuana for personal use from five years to one year and lowered the fine from NT$5 million (US$170,000) to NT$1 million.

Before the change in the law was made, the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例) stipulated that people found guilty of cultivating marijuana with "intentions to supply for manufacturing narcotics" faced a minimum sentence of five years in prison and could also result in a fine of up to NT$5 million.

However, because the cultivation of cannabis covers a wide range, Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 790 in 2020 ruled that the penalties for growing marijuana for personal use failed to meet the principle of proportional punishment as stipulated in the Constitution. Citing the ruling, the Cabinet in March 2021 proposed a revision to the act to impose appropriate punishment for planting marijuana that is commensurate with the crime.

A new article stated that those who grow the plant for personal use and when the "circumstances are minor" should be sentenced to a minimum prison sentence of one year and a maximum of seven years and a fine of no more than NT$1 million. On Tuesday, the third reading of the amendment passed the Legislative Yuan without any objections by any legislators present.