• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss economy slows down in second quarter
Graph showing GDP growth over past five years. Source: Seco

Swiss economy slows down in second quarter

The Swiss economy ground to a halt in the second quarter of this year with the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) unchanged from the first three months of 2014, government figures released on Tuesday show. READ  

Nude selfies secretary agrees to step down
Woman taking a selfie (not the secretary involved in Bern). Photo: Getty Images/AFP

Nude selfies secretary agrees to step down

A Swiss parliament secretary who posted naked selfies on her Twitter account after posing for the photos in her government office has agreed to give up her job. READ  

Wawrinka overcomes cramps in New York win
Photo: Al Belo/Getty Images North America/AFP

Wawrinka overcomes cramps in New York win

The Swiss third seed Stan Wawrinka battled cramps and a frightening fall on Monday but emerged with a gutsy four-set victory over Tommy Robredo and a quarterfinal place in the US Open tennis tournament. READ  

Burkhalter hails Second World War mobilization
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter. Photo: FDFA

Burkhalter hails Second World War mobilization

Swiss President Didier Burkhalter on Monday thanked the country’s citizens who mobilized 75 years earlier to defend the mountain country when the Second World War broke out. READ  

Swiss pay UK and Austria over tax dodging
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Swiss pay UK and Austria over tax dodging

Switzerland said on Monday that it had completed a programme to pay Britain and Austria hundreds of millions of euros in settlements for past tax-dodging by their citizens. READ  

Japan Novartis unit failed to report 'drug deaths'
Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Japan Novartis unit failed to report 'drug deaths'

The Japanese unit of Swiss pharma giant Novartis has admitted it did not report more than 2,500 cases of serious side effects in patients using its leukaemia and other cancer drugs, reportedly including some fatalities. READ  

Swiss health insurance premiums 'set to jump'
Federal Health Minister Alain Berset: set to release official figures later this month. Photo: Federal Assembly

Swiss health insurance premiums 'set to jump'

Swiss health insurance premiums are set to rise steeply overall next year, according to figures revealed by a Sunday newspaper. READ  

Presented by St Bernard Assure Limited
Car insurance made easy online with St Bernard
Photo: St Bernard Assure Limited

Car insurance made easy online with St Bernard

A new car insurance firm has ripped up the rule book when it comes to selling policies in Switzerland, by cutting out the middle-man and passing the savings onto their customers with its online only model. The Local finds out more. READ  

Bencic and Federer give Swiss double boost
Switzerland's Bencic celebrates at US Open. Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America/AFP

Bencic and Federer give Swiss double boost

Seventeen-year-old Belinda Bencic on Sunday became the youngest women's quarterfinalist at the US Open since 1997, giving Switzerland a double boost after Roger Federer moved into the last 16. READ  

Air show draws large crowds to Payerne
Patrouille Suisse in action. Photo: Matthias Kabel

Air show draws large crowds to Payerne

An estimated 160,000 people turned out for the opening weekend of Switzerland’s biggest air show at the Payerne military aerodrome in the canton of Vaud. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Car insurance made easy online with St Bernard
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
Travel
Switzerland remains world champion for per capita train travel
Culture
Social media backlash forces Polanski to bow out of Locarno film festival
National
Two policemen identified among three Israelis killed in train crash
Features
Untouched Alps: The Local explores Switzerland's only national park
National
Swiss government secretary tweets nude ‘selfies’ taken at work
International
Swiss couples fined in Ibiza for making love in van without seatbelts
National
Schumacher medical record theft suspect hangs himself in Zurich cell
National
Thousands of motorists drive without permits in Switzerland: report
National
Switzerland celebrates the centennial of national park in Graubünden
National
Animal rights group protests over dead fish throwing at festival
National
Federer forced to tear down kids' play area at Graubünden holiday home
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

1,974
jobs available