01.11.2013 New system of public order fines for cannabis use
Revision of the Narcotics Act. As of 1 October 2013, adults caught using cannabis are now fined 100 francs and no longer charged with drug use.
The National Council and the Council of States both approved this amendment to the Narcotics Act on 28 September 2012. It applies to individuals in possession of no more than ten grammes of cannabis. If the cannabis users agree
to and pay the public order fine, no charges are brought against them and no criminal proceedings are instituted.
This amendment relieves pressure on police and legal-system resources and saves costs. It also standardises punishment of cannabis use in Switzerland. The change applies only to persons over the age of 18. Any under-18s who use cannabis will, as before, be subject to
legal proceedings in accordance with the Swiss Juvenile Criminal Procedure Code.
Cannabis use and charges
Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in Switzerland. According to surveys of the general public conducted in 2012, 29.6% of adults have already had experience of cannabis. Respondents currently using cannabis (in the 30 days prior to the survey) account for 3% of these, i.e. approximately 200,000 people. Men (5.1%) are much more likely to use cannabis than women (1.5%). Current use is much higher (9.3%) among under-25s. No increase in use among schoolchildren has been observed in the last ten years.
In 2012, the police charged 24,129 individuals with using cannabis. Of these, 4,301 were under 18 years of age.
Crista Cueni, Division of Legal Affairs, email@example.com