Bulgarian Court Overturns Marijuana Grower Acquittal
A second-instance court in Bulgaria has decided to reverse the acquittal of Marin Kalchev, who was earlier tried for owning and growing cannabis at home.
Kalchev is now to pay a BGN 1000 (EUR 500) fine and to cover trial expenses, after fresh ruling by the city of Lovech's District Court.
He as nevertheless declared free of amenability.
The defendant, who lives in Lovech, had two plants which he only used personally and for medical purposes.
He claimed he needed cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
A medical report prepared by three experts then showed that marijuana did have positive effects in treatment of symptoms displayed with various diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, and glaucoma.
Weeks after the first-instance court ruled Kalchev was not guilty and that he "carried out the act out of utmost need in the name of his health", the District Court says no evidence suggests that the defendant has explored all other options of treatment and that no concrete facts prove his condition was positively influenced by marijuana.
Multiple sclerosis is considered an incurable disease.
The previous decision, which was unprecedented in the country, triggered a debate as to whether drug use should be allowed for medical purposes.