The prosecutor has requested a 5-year imprisonment for a man who was growing cannabis for personal use

«It was an ordinary day, I went out on the street and went about my business, but my plans changed abruptly when the officers of the State Drug Control Committee stopped me on the pretext of clarifying some information. I got into their car, and they showed me a search warrant for the apartment where I lived,» says Ilya (name changed), Legalize Belarus.

The prosecutor has requested a 5-year imprisonment for a man who was growing cannabis for personal use
Legalize Belarus
27 November 2023
Stories of the convicted

«I’ve been using cannabis occasionally since childhood, for about 15 years, and for the last 3 years, I’ve been growing it at home for myself. It helped me relax in the evening after work, sleep easily, unload my psyche, and made my life a bit brighter. Since I hardly ever drink alcohol, cannabis was an excellent alternative, and it was less harmful to my body,» says Ilya.

«When they detained me, they found one cannabis plant and a few grams of buds during the search. All actions took place in the presence of witnesses and riot police officers, although it was definitely unnecessary,» recalls the man.

«From the first minutes, I started cooperating with law enforcement. After the search, they took me for examination, but besides THC, the results showed nothing. After that, I spent two days in the local police department. They didn’t feed me anything, I slept on the floor in the cold. Then was a day in the Okrestina detention center. They fed me once there, but there was bedding for only 5 out of 7 people, as well as beds, so I had to sleep on a bench. I was with people who were detained for theft, illegal actions under the influence of alcohol, fights, etc. I just smoked cannabis and didn’t harm anyone,» Ilya recounts.

«Afterward, they took me back to the local police department and called me to the investigator. I told them I was growing it for myself, never sold it, and also revealed where I bought the seeds. By the way, I associate my arrest precisely with the store. Before, there was the HYDRA website, and I ordered everything I needed there. Then the platform closed, and I had to use another resource to buy fertilizers. I entered my details there, and a month later, they came to search me,» the man assumes.

«I was offered a state-appointed lawyer, whom I had to pay later, so I refused. The investigator also suggested that someone close to me pay a bail equivalent to 2000 dollars to release me before the trial, and I used this option. The trial was in 2 months, I repented of everything and said that I hadn’t done anything wrong to anyone, just wanted to help myself. The prosecutor requested 5 years of imprisonment under the part 1 of article 328. But in the end, I got 2 years on probation and was also obliged to pay a fine of 1700 rubles,» Ilya recounts.

«In fact, it’s better than I hoped because I knew how long people get imprisoned even just for using cannabis. Although I believe it’s absurd because cannabis definitely doesn’t cause as much harm to a person as the actions of the police, which can really ruin someone’s life,» the man shares his opinion.

«I’ve never been convicted before this. I was deprived of my freedom for only 3 days, but even that I consider terrible, completely unjustified, and useless from a public benefit perspective. I still have the desire to smoke, but not in this country. Some of my friends find solace in alcohol, some take antidepressants. But neither is for me, so for now, I have to find the strength within myself not to go crazy with everything happening around,» says Ilya.

The material was created based on anonymous monitoring.

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