• Switzerland edition
 
Pot smokers to get off with small fine
Mateusz Atroszko (File)

Pot smokers to get off with small fine

Published: 08 Mar 2012 12:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Mar 2012 09:46 GMT+01:00

Cannabis smokers caught with less than 10 grams of the drug will now only be subject to a 200 franc ($219) fine.

The National Council voted on Wednesday to amend the Swiss narcotics law in a move that police warn could make tracing dealers more difficult, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

Adults aged 18 years or more caught with 10 grams of cannabis or less will no longer be the subject of what can be expensive and time-consuming criminal proceedings, but will instead be hit with an administrative penalty more akin to a speeding fine.

"Police can focus on the pursuit of drug trafficking rather than scatter its resources in pursuit of the consumers," Social Democrat, Marina Carrobio, told newspaper Tribune de Genève.

But the Secretary General of the Association of Swiss Police Officers, Max Hoffmann, queried whether the new approach makes sense given that court proceedings would follow in any event where the individual had not paid his fine within 30 days.

Critically, Hoffmann fears that the anonymity of those receiving fines removes a major weapon from the police armoury in the fight against the major drug dealers, as there would be less opportunity for the police to obtain testimonial evidence, Tages Anzeiger reported.

Ticino Prosectuor, Antonio Perugini, also fears the move will affect prosecutions of the dealers.

"Without questioning the consumer, the fight against cannabis dealers is more difficult, because often we have nothing in hand except for their statements," Perugini told Tages Anzeiger.

The debate was described as emotional by newspaper Tribune de Genève, which reported that the National Council tried to find a balance between those on the one hand who believe cannabis smoking to be recreational and unworthy of so much police and court time, and those who believe that such a penalty sends the wrong signal to young people.

The far-right Swiss People’s Party and the Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland are angry at the perceived move towards legalization of cannabis, particularly given that the people voted against legalization three years ago, Tribune de Genève reported.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fourteen-year-old Swiss whiz kid enrols at uni
Bastian Eichenberger: speaks nine languages. Photo: Sandra Meyndt/University of Freiburg

Fourteen-year-old Swiss whiz kid enrols at uni

A Swiss teenager has become the youngest university student in Germany, according to media reports in Switzerland. READ  

Electrolux to close Swiss manufacturing plant
Photo: AFP

Electrolux to close Swiss manufacturing plant

Swedish home appliances maker Electrolux plans to close its production plant in Schwanden in the canton of Glarus, eliminating 120 full-time jobs, partly because of tighter rules about Swiss-made products. READ  

Three kids hospitalized in crossing car crash
Photo: Zurich cantonal police

Three kids hospitalized in crossing car crash

Three children are in hospital, including a six-month-old infant, after a car collided with a family walking across a pedestrian crossing in Oberglatt, a municipality near the Zurich airport, police said on Monday. READ  

Quarter of workers 'stressed out': survey
Photo: AFP

Quarter of workers 'stressed out': survey

More than 40 percent of employed people in Switzerland believe they suffer from overwork, while a quarter of them say they are stressed out, according to a new survey. READ  

Canadian Ebola vaccine headed for Geneva
Geneva's university hospital. Photo: Julien Gregario

Canadian Ebola vaccine headed for Geneva

Canada will start sending more than 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to Switzerland this week as part of the global fight against the deadly virus, a Geneva hospital says. READ  

Swiss mountains claim four weekend victims
View of Fluebrig mountain where the passenger of a tandem paragliding pair died in a crash. Photo: Roland zh/Wikimedia Commons

Swiss mountains claim four weekend victims

Swiss mountain accidents claimed the lives of four men at the weekend, including a 61-year-old man who died from injuries suffered while flying as a passenger with a paraglider in the canton of Schwyz. READ  

Federer and Nadal seek different goals in Basel
Federer at last year's Swiss Indoors. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Federer and Nadal seek different goals in Basel

Home hero Roger Federer and ailing Rafael Nadal will be working to completely different agendas when the Swiss Indoors begins on Monday. READ  

Neckwear exhibit set to tie Swiss into knots
A wall of album covers showing singers wearing ties or bow ties is photographed during the exhibition "The Tie: men fashion power" at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Neckwear exhibit set to tie Swiss into knots

From a symbol of power to a fashion statement, ties in all their guises are on show at a new exhibition dedicated to the neckwear at the Swiss National Museum. READ  

Survey: Swiss motor boat theft on the rise
Lake Constance has experienced 82 thefts this year so far. Photo: Stephane Batigne

Survey: Swiss motor boat theft on the rise

Motor boat theft is a growing problem in Switzerland according to a new survey which puts the number of boats stolen this year to date as more than in the whole of last year. READ  

Voodoo chicken killing ruffles Geneva feathers
The chicken was decapitated and disembowelled. Photo: Karen Jackson

Voodoo chicken killing ruffles Geneva feathers

Residents of Geneva’s Petit-Saconnex district are petitioning for surveillance cameras in their local park after finding a dead chicken that appeared to have been killed in a voodoo-style sacrificial ceremony. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Expat American professor disputes 'unjust' Swiss citizenship rejection
Features
Swiss-based English expat writer lauds immigrant 'brains and brawn'
International
Our survey: Switzerland third priciest for food and drink from back home
National
Zurich market gardener sets world 'record' for heaviest pumpkin
National
Report: Switzerland's residents richer than before economic crash
Features
Geneva lab sleuths use high tech to help art world uncover fakes
National
Father of Scot missing since early September fears Swiss trauma
National
Foreign women give birth to rising share of newborns: latest figures
National
'Giant's penis' bloom in Basel uni botanical garden bigger than ever
National
Switzerland's voters reject public health insurance proposal
National
Zooming foreign immigration continues to boost Swiss population
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
National
Geneva MP seeks ban on charging for tap water in restaurants
Business & Money
Switzerland's residents top world financial wealth list: Allianz report
National
Saint Maurice abbey in Valais celebrates 1,500 years of history
National
Streaming movie video service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
National
Switzerland's housing vacancy rate jumps: new federal figures
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
National
Swiss policeman belatedly honoured for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Business & Money
American tax evasion crackdown hits Swiss private banks' bottom line
Politics
Woman accuses Swiss politician in nude selfies scandal of lying
National
Villagers in Graubünden valley reject hydro plant to protect vultures
Business & Money
Court rules against appellation for absinthe from Neuchâtel valley
National
Two hundred passengers rescued after landslide derails Swiss train
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,268
jobs available