"In January 2001, the Belgian Government adopted a Policy Note in which it expressed the intention to modify the main drug law in order to reduce the penalty in the case of non-problematic use of cannabis. The main lines of the laws of 4 April and 3 May 2003, in force from 2 June 2003, are thus:
"Belgium is moving towards a policy of normalisation. This in no way means a policy of tolerance or legalisation of certain substances. It is based upon the following key points:
"Sanctions for illicit production or trafficking are strengthened;
"Possession or cultivation of cannabis remains an offence. In cases of personal use (ie possession of a quantity of cannabis which can be consumed in one time only, or at maximum in 24 hours, namely 3 grammes), a simplified police report (place, date and time of facts, type and use) will be made. In case of problematic use, the prosecutor will be notified and may recommend treatment. A case of public nuisance will be passed to the prosecutor. Problematic use would mean a degree of dependence which prevents the user from controlling his consumption, shown either by physical or psychological symptoms. Public nuisance would mean possession of cannabis in prison, in an educational establishment or in the building of a social service, as well as in their immediate surroundings or in other places frequented by minors that may be of an educational, sporting, or social nature.
"Dissuasion of all drug use, including recreational use by adults;
"No illicit drugs in any circumstances for minors. Indeed, even recreational use by adults in the presence of minors will be prosecuted in the most severe manner.
"Prohibition of driving under the influence of drugs, including cannabis;
"An integrated policy for the problematic user: at each step of the penal procedure, investigation, prosecution, passing and execution of the sentence, the magistrate has legal means to send problematic users to a drug treatment service."
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Country Legal Profile: Belgium (EMCDDA: March 29, 2012), last accessed Dec. 14, 2012.