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European Drug Policy Appendix & Sources

Appendix A*

Types of Penalty Reforms for Consumption-Related Drug Offenses

 

Reduced "Criminal" Penalties
Decriminalization
  • Maximum term of custodial confinement greater that 7 days;
  or
  • Convicted offender is subject of criminal record with same consequences as violators of other criminal provisions
Types of Ameliorative Reforms
  • Substantial reductions in maximum terms of imprisonment (e.g. 30 days, 90 days) for all violators
  • Preclusion of incarceration and/or "conviction" for first offenders
  • Mandatory, though conditional, "diversion" in lieu of prosecution or punishment
  • Explicit authorization of dismissals, discharges, warnings, diversions, and other non-criminal dispositions in discretion of prosecutors and courts
"Non-Criminal" Penalties
No Penalty ("Depenalization")
  • Maximum term of custodial confinement of 7 days or less;
  • Offense is not subject to formal imposition of penalties ("not punishable")
  and 
  • "Convicted" offender has no "criminal" record
 
QualificationsQualifications
  • Violators still may be "arrested" and processed through "criminal" courts
  • Detected offenders may still be arrested and processed through criminal courts pending determination of non-punishability
  • Prescribed penalty may be short period of detention, fine, official reprimand or reasonable period of community service, social service supervision, or other non-custodial penalty
  • Coercive intervention may still be possible under legal equivalent of "civil commitment"

*from Europe and Decriminalization, Richard Bonnie, 1980


Appendix B*

 

 
Product classification
Drug use
Notification

Combined treatment/ penalty procedure

Possession with a view to use
Drug Possession
Supplying drug to users
Drug trafficking
Belgium
(1921 & 1975)
no distinction between different drugscollective drug use: 3 months to 5 yearsthere is noneno specific dispositionsas for drug trafficking3 m to 5 years imprisonment3 m to 5 years 10 to 20 years* imprisonment3 m to 5 years imprisonment
Denmark
(1955 & 1976)
no distinction between different drugsnot an offensethere is nonevoluntary treatment taken in considerationas for drug traffickingto 2 years imprisonmentto 2 years to 10 years* imprisonmentto 2 years to 10 years* imprisonment
France
(1970 & 1987)
no distinction between different drugsall sort of use prohibited 2 m to 1 yearnotification to health authorityvoluntary incentives compulsorytheoretically as for drug trafficking2 to 10 years imprisonment1 to 5 years imprisonment2 to 10 years 10 to 20 years imprisonment
Germany
(1973 & 1981)
no distinction between different drugsnot an offensethere is nonesyst of incentive if imprison < 2 years1 to 4 years imprisonment1 to 15 years imprisonment if great quantity1 to 4 years 1 to 15 years* imprisonment1 to 4 years 1 to 15 years* imprisonment
Greece
(1970 & 1976)
no distinction between different drugsnot an offensethere is nonevoluntary incentives compulsoryonly not addicts punished: 2 to 5 years5 to 20 years imprisonment5 to 20 years imprisonment perpetuity*5 to 20 years imprisonment perpetuity*
Ireland
(1977 & 1984)
distinction between cannabis and other drugsnot an offense except opium (14 years)there is nonevoluntary incentives compulsorySD: to 3 years HD: to 7 yearsSD: to 7 years HD: to perpetuitySD: to 7 years HD: to perpetuitySD: to 7 years HD: to perpetuity
Italy
(1975 & 1990)
distinction between cannabis and other drugsprohibited but not punishednotification to health authorityvoluntary incentives compulsory1,2'/ suspension of driving license 3'/prison & fineSD: 2 to 6 years HD: 4 to 15 years4 to 15 years aggravat. 1/3** imprisonment4 to 15 years 20 years minim.* imprsnt
Luxembourg
(1973 & 1989)
no distinction between different drugsindiv.: 3 m to 3 years / collective: 1 to 5 yearspenalties for refusal to submit to biological testvoluntary incentives compulsoryacquisition and possess for use to 5 years1 to 5 years imprisonment1 to 5 years imprisonment perpetuity*1 to 5 years imprisonment
Netherlands
(1928 & 1976)
distinction between cannabis and other drugsnot an offensethere is nonevoluntary incentives compulsorySD: to 3 m HD: to 1 yearto 2 years imprisonmentSD: to 2 years HD: to 8 years (National)SD: to 4 years HD: to 12 years (International)
Portugal
(1983)
no distinction between different drugsnot an offensethere is nonevoluntary incentives compulsoryto 1 year imprisonment1 to 4 years imprisonment6 to 12 years imprisonment12 to 18 years imprisonment
Spain
(1983 & 1988)
distinction between cannabis and other drugsnot an offenselaw about social dangerosity of drug addictsvoluntary incentives compulsorynot an offenseSD: 4 m to 4 years HD: 8 m to 8 yearsSD: 6 m to 6 years HD: 6 to 14 yearsSD: 10 to 17 years* HD: 14 to 23 years
United Kingdom (1971 & 1986)
distinction among 3 dangerous levelsnot an offense except opium (14 years)notification to Home Officevoluntary incentives compulsoryA - to 7 years
B - to 5 years
C - to 2 years
A - to 14 years
B - to 14 years
C - to 5 years
A - to 14 years
B - to 14 years
C - to 5 years
A - to 14 years
B - to 14 years
C - to 5 years

*from the Commission of the European Community, 1991.


Sources

Bonnie, Richard J. "Europe and Decriminalization: A Comparative View."
Marijuana Use and Criminal Sanctions. Charlottesville, VA: The Michie Company, 1980. 129-239.

Commission of the European Community. The Community of Twelve and the Drug Demand. Ed. Bernard Leroy. Doc. CEC/LUX/V/E, 1991.

Drug Text Information Services. Ed. Mario Lap. www.drugtext.org.

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). 1998 Annual Report on the State of the Drugs Problem in the European Union. Luxembourg: Office for Offical Publications of the European Communities, 1998.

Felstiner, William L.F. and Ann Drew. European Alternatives to Criminal Trials and Their Applicability in the United States. National Institute of Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, U.S. Department of Justice.

Frankfurt Resolution. Konferenz: Europaisch Stadte Im Zentrum Des Illegalen Drogenhandels. Nov. 20-22, 1990.

Horsten-Von Meyenfeldt, Liesbeth. "The Netherlands: Tightening Up the Cafes Policy." European Drug Policies and Enforcement. Ed. Nicholas Dorn et al. New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc. 1996. 97-105.

Jorgen, Jepsen. "Copenhagen: A War on Socially Marginal People." European Drug Policies and Enforcement. Ed. Nicholas Dorn et al. New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., 1996. 9-32.

Molander, Eva. "Sweden---A Drug Free Society?" Current Sweden: Issues Analysis Debate. Stockholm: The Swedish Institute, 1995.

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. "Cannabis Report by the Federal Commission for Drug Issues." Spectra. vol 16, June 1999.

Van de Wijngaart, G.F. et al. "The Normalization of Cannabis Use." Paper presented at 16th Intern. Institute on the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependence. Lausanne, Switzerland, June 1987.

Van Vliet, Henk Jan. "Separation of Drug Markets and the Normalization of Drug Problems in the Netherlands: An Example for Other Nations?" The Journal of Drug Issues. 20:3 (1990): 463-471.

Christopher Gatto, NORML Foundation Intern, Summer 1999
(Kurtztown University, 1999)

Special thanks to:

Natercia Martins and everyone at EMCDDA in Lisbon; Marc Wey, First Secretary of Legal Affairs, Swiss Embassy, Washington D.C.; Bridget Donovan, NORML intern, Summer 1998; and Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director.

Allen St. Pierre is the Executive Director of the NORML Foundation.