The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed amendments to the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例) allowing courts to seize illicit gains from the sale of narcotics.
People who sell or transfer narcotics of any class, or grow, sell or transfer opium poppy, cocaine or cannabis plants would have any belongings or property proved to be illicit gains from the infractions seized, one amendment says.
Authorities do not need to wait until a court ruling is passed before destroying seized narcotics that are difficult to produce or preserve, another amendment says.
The thresholds for punishments related to the possession of class C or D drugs were also lowered.
People found in possession of more than 5g of any class C drug would be subject to a jail term of up to two years or a maximum fine of NT$200,000, while those found with more than 5g of class D narcotics would face a prison term of up to one year or a fine of up to NT$100,000. Previously, people found in possession of more than 20g of class C drugs faced a prison term of up to three years, which could be commuted to a NT$300,000 fine, while those in possession of more than 20g of class D narcotics faced a jail term of up to one year or a fine of NT$100,000.
Due to the high costs often associated with making “standard samples,” either the synthesis of new drugs or importing samples from abroad, the amendments allow narcotics inspection agencies to take a small portion of new drugs seized to be used as samples.
People who force or coerce a minor or pregnant woman to use illicit drugs, or cause them to do so by any other means, could face a prison term 1.5 times longer, another amendment says.
People found to have manufactured, sold, transported or enticed others to take a mixture of narcotics of different classes would face charges governing the higher-ranked drugs, as well as a prison term 1.5 times longer than the penalty if their crime involved only one kind of drug, the amendments say.
To reduce the period in which no legal action may be taken for new narcotics, the amendments stipulate that drugs with similar chemical formulas may be reviewed immediately and classified at drug reviews held every three months by the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
As not everyone who uses controlled substances develops an addiction, one amendment stipulates that such offenders may be ordered to perform community service, or undergo therapy or counseling as an alternative to rehabilitation.
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